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Monday, July 15, 2024

Restructured Deal Could Be Win-Win for Aaron Donald and Rams

  • He is the fifth-highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.
  • He has three years remaining on the 6-year, $135 million extension ($87M guaranteed) he signed with L.A. in 2018.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports/Design: John Regula

On Wednesday, Rams GM Les Snead said he has discussed a new contract with three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.

The 30-year-old had hinted at retirement in the aftermath of Los Angeles’ Super Bowl victory over the Bengals but later indicated a willingness to “run it back” with the Rams in 2022.

While he wants to spend more time with his family, Donald could also cash in one more time with a restructured deal — one befitting arguably the top defensive player in the NFL.

  • He has three years remaining on the six-year, $135 million extension ($87M guaranteed) he signed with the Rams in 2018 — which at the time made him the highest-paid defensive player ever.
  • But his average annual salary of $22.5M currently ranks 23rd in the NFL.
  • It ranks just fifth among defensive players behind T.J. Watt ($28M), Joey Bosa ($27M), Myles Garrett ($25M), and Khalil Mack ($23.5M).

The Rams’ desire to ink Donald to an extension goes beyond locking in a player with 12.5 sacks and a career-high 84 tackles in the regular season — not to mention his championship-clinching pressure in the waning seconds of the Super Bowl.

Los Angeles is currently around $20 million over the cap, and a restructured extension for Donald — plus one for quarterback Matthew Stafford reportedly in the works — could potentially free up space for the Rams to bring back the bulk of the roster that won their first title in 22 years.

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