There is a great infographic on the mothership on Ware's career to date that is well worth a quick view.
I have also added a few choice stats from my own research for your info.
Vs Active players:
Ware is currently 3rd on the list of active players, with John Abraham and Jared Allen ahead. However, Abraham started in 2000 so has 5 year head start on Ware - during which time he had 43 sacks. Jared Allen is 3 sacks ahead, but he had a 1 season start during which he had 9 sacks. So no player has had more sacks than Ware over his career to date.
vs the All-time list:
Ware is currently 17th. If he has another "normal" season he can get up to number 11 on the list, just behind LT. If he breaks or ties the single-season sack record this season then he can climb over the great LT into 10th place. That would require another 18 sacks over 13 games (1.38 per game). He currently has 4 after 3 (1.33 per game).
vs the all-time record:
Its not too hard to imagine Ware accumulating another 45+ sacks to get up to #3 on the all-time list (as an aside - shocked to see Kevin Greene's name so high on the list, he seems to be the forgotten man - 160 sacks he should have got more recognition.)
But Reggie White's 198 and Bruce Smith's 200 seem like a long way away.... Until you look at their performance vs their age. Ware had accumulated 111 sacks before his 31st birthday. So he needs 90 sacks to beat Smith's record. Reggie obtained 101 sacks after his 31st birthday. Smith accumulated 94. Even Kevin Greene accumulated 87.5.
Most pass rushers on the list seemed to have stayed productive well into their late 30's, registering at least 14 productive seasons. So there is every chance of Ware having at least 6 to 8 more productive seasons (including this one). If so, the record is within his reach. Even more so now that the NFL has become such as passing league.
One counter-point is most of the other players were significantly bigger than Ware so maybe could absorb the punishment better, but Kevin Greene is almost exactly the same size and still recorded 12 sacks in his final year at age 37...
There were many comparisons in the first 3 years between Ware and Merriman given they were taken 1 pick apart and Merriman clearly had a chip on his shoulder about that. Some questioned whether we had taken the right player, not just due to his sacks, but also due to Merriman's intimidating nature vs Ware's quiet disposition. On the sacks, Merriman had 39.5 sacks in his first 3 seasons to Ware's 33.5 - so the questions had some justification. Post-'roids - Merriman had another 6 sacks. Total. No disputing who was the right pick now....
Post post note:
Reggie White had 2 seasons with the Memphis Showboats, registering 23.5 sacks. So his professional total is 221.5. Now it can be argued that that was against inferior competition, but it is likely his first 2 seasons in the NFL would have registered something close to 20. So as much as I like D Ware, he may only become the 2nd best pass rusher of all time....