In football, getting after the quarterback means everything. After all, there’s a reason the Cleveland Browns recently invested $125 million in star defensive end Myles Garrett.
But as the 24-year-old continues to carve out his own legacy as a pass rusher, it begs the question: Who has the most sacks in NFL history?
While current stars like J.J. Watt and Von Miller have become incredibly rich thanks to their ability to get after the quarterback, they aren’t even close to the top-10. Let’s take a look at some of the top pass rushers of all time, including a Buffalo Bills legend who racked up the most sacks in NFL history.
Terrell Suggs leads all active players in sacks
In terms of active players, no one has accumulated more sacks than Terrell Suggs. The 38-year-old spent the majority of his NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens.
After entering the league as the 10th overall pick of the 2003 NFL draft, the 6-foot-3, 265-pound edge defender spent 16 years wrecking havoc in the AFC North. Suggs recorded 132.5 sacks with the Ravens, including 22.5 in his first two seasons.
He earned seven Pro Bowl berths in Baltimore before signing a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals in March 2019. Suggs totaled 5.5 sacks for the Cardinals before getting released in December. He won a second Super Bowl ring as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Although he’s currently a free agent, Suggs leads all active players with 139 career sacks. Miller comes in next at 106. Watt has recorded 99 career sacks despite missing 32 games from 2016-2019.
Reggie White may have been the most dominant pass-rushing force in NFL history
In terms of pure dominance, Reggie White may have been the most unstoppable pass-rushing force in NFL history. The 2006 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee racked up 198 sacks in 232 career games.
White spent the first half of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles. The 6-foot-5, 291-pound defensive lineman wasted no time showing why Philly made him the fourth overall pick of the 1984 Supplemental Draft.
In his rookie season, White totaled 100 tackles and 13 sacks. In fact, he posted double-digit sacks in each of his first nine NFL seasons. He led the league in sacks in 1987 (21) and 1988 (18).
The perennial All-Pro later took advantage of free agency and signed a lucrative contract with the Green Bay Packers. White racked up 68.5 sacks in six seasons with the team and won his only Super Bowl ring in 1996.
During his dominant career, White’s signature hump move gave offensive linemen nightmares. He played with tremendous power and often looked like a man among boys.
Yet, not even The Minister of Defense manages to hold down the No. 1 spot on the all-time sack list.
Bruce Smith has the most sacks in NFL history
So who has the most sacks in NFL history?
That honor belongs to Bruce Smith, who racked up 200 sacks in 279 career games.
The Bills selected the talented defensive end with the first pick of the 1985 NFL draft. That turned out to be the best decision in franchise history.
For 15 years, Smith terrorized quarterbacks as the anchor of Buffalo’s defense. In 217 career games with the Bills, he totaled 171 sacks and 35 forced fumbles.
Incredibly durable, Smith continued to play at a high level at an age when most players drop off a cliff. In his second-to-last season in Buffalo, the 6-foot-4, 262-pound defensive end recorded 10 sacks at age 35.
Two years later, he posted another double-digit sack campaign in his first season in Washington.
Smith retired after the 2003 season and got inducted into Canton in 2009.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.