DeMarcus Ware becoming the Dallas Cowboys’ all-time leader in sacks with 115 is a god chance to review all NFL franchises leaders in this specific stat, which the NFL only began counting officially since the 1982 season, and the men who have a shot at breaking those records.
The teams have been recording these numbers from way before, so there are differences for some franchises between their count and what the NFL numbers suggest is an official record. For all 32 franchises, we went with the NFL count, probably hurting a few players and their stats along the way.
Arizona Cardinals – Freddie Joe Nunn
Freddie Joe Nunn played for the Cardinals during their St. Louis & Phoenix phase as well, and got 66.5 sacks during his time with the franchise before moving on to the Indianapolis Colts where he didn’t play much. The talented pass-rusher (played on both ends of the defensive line and as a linebacker) had two season of over 10 sacks (1987, 1988), including a career high of 14.
He’s followed by Simeon Rice who got 51.5 sacks from 1996 to 2000, while the closest among active players is Darnell Dockett, with 39 sacks from 2004 to 2013. Maybe Calais Campbell, with 28.5 sacks through the first five and something seasons of his carer has a chance of catching up.
Atlanta Falcons – John Abraham
Abraham played for the Falcons from 2006 to 2012, finishing with 68.5 sacks before being released this offseason and signing with the Cardinals. During his time with the Falcons, he has had four seasons of at least 10 sacks, including 16.5 in the 2008 season.
Chuck Smith who played for the Flacons during the 1990’s follows with 58.5 sacks, but the closest to Abraham among current players is Jonathan Babineaux, who has been with the team since 2005, getting to the quarterback 22.5 times so far in his career.
Baltimore Ravens – Terrell Suggs
Suggs has been with the Ravens since 2003, producing 87.5 sacks so far in his career, including four seasons in double figures, with his career best coming in 2011, sacking opposing quarterbacks 14 times. He already has three sacks this season through the first three games. He is 7th in the NFL among active players.
Next on the list is Peter Boulware (1997-2005) with 70 sacks, winning the first Super Bowl for the franchise.
Buffalo Bills – Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith is the all-time sack leader in the NFL with 200, and 171 came during his 15-year career with the Buffalo Bills. Smith made the pro bowl 11 times and the first team All-Pro selection nine times, all during his time with the Bills (1985-1999), and ended up being inducted into the hall of fame in 2009, his first year of eligibility.
He’s followed by Aaron Schobel with 78, playing for the Bills between 2001 and 2009. Among active players, Kyle Williams is in the lead, although his pace of 19.5 sacks in just over seven seasons isn’t very impressive.
Carolina Panthers – Julius Peppers
Peppers, now playing with the Chicago Bears, spent 8 seasons with the Panthers, sacking quarterbacks 81 times, including six seasons of at least 10 sacks. He has been to the Pro Bowl five times during his time with the Panthers, and helped the team reach the Super Bowl after the 2003 season.
Next on the list is Mike Rucker with 55.5, and among active Panthers, Charles Johnson with 45 sacks so far in his career is the closest to reaching Peppers’ mark.
Chicago Bears – Richard Dent
Inducted into the hall of fame in 2011, Dent played 13 seasons for the Chicago Bears, getting 124.5 sacks during his time with the team and 137.5 overall in his career. He won the Super Bowl with the Bears in 1985 and was a four-time Pro Bowler and five-time All Pro selection in his career, all coming during his Bears years (1983-1995).
Steve McMichael, with 92.5, comes after Dent, while Julius Peppers, with 30.5 sacks in three and a bit years on the team since coming from the Panthers, leads among active players.
Cincinnati Bengals – Eddie Edwards
Edwards played his entire NFL career (1977-1988) with the Cincinnati Bengals, finishing with 47.5 career sacks, although the franchise has Edwards with 83.5 sacks, counting the years before 1982.
He’s followed by Justin Smith, with 47.5 sacks between 2001 and 2007; among active players, Robert Geathers with 33 sacks is in the lead, although Michael Johnson, with 24.5 sacks so far in his career has a much better shot of reaching that record.
Cleveland Browns – Clay Matthews Jr.
Matthews played in the NFL from 1978 to 1996, leaving the Browns after 1993. He is registered for 62 sacks during his time in Cleveland, which includes making the Pro Bowl four times and the All-Pro team three times.
He’s followed by Michael Dean Perry, who had 51.5 sacks for the team; Jabaal Sheard, with 13 sacks in the two and a bit seasons he’s been with the Browns, has 17 sacks to lead active players.
Dallas Cowboys – DeMarcus Ware
Ware, who has been with the Cowboys since 2005, has just gotten to 115 career sacks, beating Too Tall Jones for the franchise record according to Cowboys numbers. Ware has never finished a season with less than 8 sacks (his rookie year), and has led the league in the category twice with 20 sacks in 2008 and 15.5 sacks in 2010.
According to the NFL, he’s followed by Jim Jeffcoat with 94.5 sacks.
Denver Broncos – Simon Fletcher
A linebacker for most of his career, Fletcher played 11 seasons for the Denver Broncos, finishing with 97.5 sacks. He had 9 sacks or more for six consecutive years, including a career best of 16 in 1992.
He’s followed by Karl Mecklenburg with 94 sacks during the same period more or less, and among active players the closest to him is Von Miller, with 30 sacks since entering the league in 2011.
Detroit Lions – Robert Porcher
Robert Porcher played his entire career (1992-2003) for the Detroit Lions, getting 95.5 sacks along the way. He made three Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams, and peaked in 1999 with 15 sacks during that season.
He’s followed by Mike L. Cofer with 62.5 sacks. Ndamukong Suh is 16th on the franchise lists, but the leader among active players with 22 sacks.
Green Bay Packers – Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
KGB played nine seasons for the Green Bay Packers, recording 74.5 sacks along the way, breaking the record held by Reggie White, denying him the chance to be the all-time sack leader for two franchises. He made the Pro Bowl only once (in 2003).
Reggie White is second on the all-time list with 68.5; Clay Matthews, with 44.5 sacks since 2009, lead the active players.
Houston Texans – Mario Williams
The number one draft pick for the Texans in 2006, Williams stayed with the team until 2011, managing 53 sacks during that time, peaking during his sophomore year with 14. He made two All-Pro & Pro Bowl teams with the Texans, none so far with the Bills.
J.J. Watt, who was drafted by Houston in 2011, is hot on his tail, with 29 sacks during the first two and something seasons of his career.
Indianapolis Colts – Dwight Freeney
Freeney, now with the Chargers, has been one of the most productive pass rushers in the NFL over the last 11 years, getting 107.5 sacks with the Colts, who he also won a Super Bowl with. He led the league in sacks once, with 16 in the 2004 season, and ended up on 7 Pro Bowl teams and 4 All-Pro teams.
He’s trailed by former teammate Robert Mathis, who has 96 sacks since joining in 2003.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Tony Brackens
Brackens spent his entire career (1996-2004) with the Jags, finishing with 55 sacks during that time, including a career-best 12 in the 1999 season, helping him make his only Pro Bowl.
Joel Smeenge, with 34 sacks (1995-2000) follows him on the list, while Jeremy Mincey, who has 17 sacks, leads the list of active players.
Kansas City Chiefs – Derrick Thomas
Thomas tragically passed away in 2000 after injuries from a car accident he was involved in led to a fatal and a massive blood clot. He played 11 seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs (1989-1999), making the Pro Bowl nine times and All-Pro teams six times, getting to 126.5 career sacks, including 7 in one game against Seattle in 1990. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
He’s followed by Neil Smith with 85.5 sacks; Tamba Hali, with 63.5 sacks, is third overall and first among active players.
Miami Dolphins – Jason Taylor
Taylor played for the Dolphins from 1997 to 2007, but returned for the 2011 season to retire in Miami. He has 131 sacks for the Dolphins (139.5 overall), leading the NFL in sacks with 18.5 during the 2002 season. He won the league’s defensive player of the year award in 2006, and was a 6-time Pro Bowler and 4-time All-Pro.
Jeff Cross comes second with 59.5 sacks; Cameron Wake, who has been with the team since 2009, is the leader among active players, already getting 45.5 sacks in his career.
Minnesota Vikings – John Randle
John Randle played for the Vikings from 1990 to 2000 before moving on to play for the Seahawks. He had 114 sacks for Minnesota (137.5 overall), with 8 consecutive seasons, beginning in 1992, reaching double figures. He led the NFL in 1997 with 15.5 sacks, and made 7 Pro Bowl teams and six All-Pro teams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.
Chris Doleman is second with 96.5 sacks, followed by the active leader, Jared Allen, who has 75 sacks for the Vikings.
New England Patriots – Andre Tippett
Tippett, a hall of famer since 2008, played his entire career (1982-1993) with the Pats, making five Pro Bowl games and two All-Pro teams. He finished with 100 sacks, including a career high 18.5 during the 1984 season.
He’s followed by Willie McGinest, getting to 78 sacks; active leader is Rob Ninkovich with 20 sacked since 2009.
New Orleans Saints – Rickey Jackson
Jackson played for the Saints from 1981 to 1993 before leaving to the San Francisco 49ers to win a Super Bowl. He had 115 sacks for the Saints, peaking with 13.5 in the season before he left. The linebacker made the Pro Bowl six times and was a first team All-Pro selection four times, making it into the Hall of Fame in 2010.
He’s followed by Wayne Martin with 82.5 sacks; Will Smith leads the active players with 67.5 sacks.
New York Giants – Michael Strahan
Strahan spent his entire career (1993-2007) with the New York Giants, retiring after winning his first Super Bowl. He got to 141.5 sacks, fifth all-time. He led the NFL in sacks twice: In 2001 with 22.5 sacks and again in 2003 with 18.5 He made the Pro Bowl 7 times and the first team All-Pro selection four times.
He’s followed by Lawrence Taylor with 132.5 sacks; Justin Tuck is the active leader with 50 sacks.
New York Jets – Mark Gastineau
Mark Gastineau played for the New York Jets from 1979 to 1988, and was a five-time Pro Bowler and five-time first team All-Pro. He got to 74 sacks once the official NFL count began, but the Jets have him at 107.5. He led the NFL in sacks twice; 1983, with 19 sacks, and in 1984, with 22.
He’s followed by Shaun Ellis with 72.5; Calvin Pace, with 29.5 sacks so far in his career, is the active leader.
Oakland Raiders – Greg Townsend
Townsend began his Raiders career in 1983, playing there for 11 seasons before coming back in 1997 to retire with the team. He had 107.5 sacks for the Raiders, making the Pro Bowl twice and winning a Super Bowl with the team.
He’s followed by Howie Long, who had 84 sacks for the Raiders. Lamarr Houston, with 12.5 sacks since entering the league in 2010, is the leader among active players.
Philadelphia Eagles – Reggie White
Some people forget but Reggie White’s first team after college were the Memphis Showboats. He later joined the Eagles (1985), staying there for eight seasons, getting 124 sacks in the process, finishing his career (playing for the Packers and Panthers later on) with 198 sacks, second on the all-time list. He led the NFL in sacks in 1987 with 21 sacks and the again in 1988 with 18 sacks. He passed away in 2004 from cardiac arrhythmia. He was a 13-time Pro Bowl selection and 10-time first team All-Pro, winning the defensive player of the year award twice. He was inducted into the hall of fame.
Clyde Simmons, with 76 sacks, follows him on the franchise rankings, and Trent Cole, with 72 sacks, isn’t far behind, leading the active players.
Pittsburgh Steelers – Jason Gildon
Gildon, who played for the Steelers from 1994 to 2003 before signing with the Jags for one season, finished his Steelers chapter with 77 sacks, including a career high 13.5 in 2000. He made the Pro Bowl three times, and was once an All-Pro selection.
He’s followed by James Harrison who had 64 sacks in 11 seasons for Pittsburgh. LaMarr Woodley, with 54 sacks since 2007, leads the active players.
San Diego Chargers – Leslie O’Neal
O’Neal played for the Chargers from 1986 to 1995 before moving on to the Rams and the Chiefs. He was a six-time Pro Bowl selection while on the Chargers, peaking in 1992 with 17 sacks, ending up with 105.5 career sacks for San Diego and 132.5 overall.
He’s followed by Shaun Phillips with 69.5; Larry English is the leader among active players with only 9.5 since 2009.
San Francisco 49ers – Bryant Young
Bryant Young spent his entire career with the 49ers, playing from 1994 to 2007. He’s a four-time pro bowl selection and a four-time all-pro, winning the Super Bowl as a rookie.
He’s followed by Charles Haley with 66.5 sacks. The active leader is Aldon Smith, who has 37 sacks since 2011.
Seattle Seahawks – Jacob Green
Green played for the Seahawks from 1980 to 1991 before switching to the 49ers in 1992 for only two games. He had 97.5 sacks during his time in Seattle, including a career high 16 back in 1983. His number is 116 according to the Seahawks calculations, counting his first two years as well.
He’s followed by Michael Sinclair with 73.5 sacks; Chris Clemons is the active leader with 33.5.
St. Louis Rams – Leonard Little
Little played his entire career with the Rams, beginning in 1998 and retiring after the 2009 season, making two Super Bowls with the team and winning one of them. He had 87.5 sacks, making one Pro Bowl and one first team All-Pro.
He’s followed by Kevin Greene with 72.5; Chris Long, who has been with the team since 2008, is the active leader with 42 sacks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Warren Sapp
Sapp played for the Bucs from 1995 to 2003, winning a Super Bowl and getting 77 sacks for the team as a defensive tackle. His 96.5 overall are the second highest in NFL history for the position. He had 16.5 sacks in 2000, his career best, and 7 Pro Bowls and six All-Pro teams during his time with Tampa Bay.
He’s followed by Simeon Rice with 69.5 sacks; active leader is Gerald McCoy with 10 sacks since 2010.
Tennessee Titans – Ray Childress
Ray Childress never played for the Titans; only in Houston, as the Oilers. He was there from 1985 to 1995, leaving to Dallas in 1996. He ended up with 75.5 sacks in Houston, making the Pro Bowl five times and was a first team All-Pro selection three times.
He’s followed by William Fuller with 59 sacks; Derrick Morgan, with 12.5 sacks, is the active leader.
Washington Redskins – Dexter Manley
Manley was a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Redskins, playing in Washington from 1981 to 1989, getting to 91 sacks in the capital before moving on to other teams. He made one Pro Bowl team and one All-Pro team.
He’s followed by Charles Mann with 82 sacks; way down the list is Brian Orakpo with 30.5 sacks since joining in 2009, leading the active players.