Aaron Donald is not only set to forgo potential retirement to help the Rams in their attempt to repeat as Super Bowl champions but he'll now be paid handsomely to do so. The All-Pro defensive tackle has agreed to rework the remaining three years on his contract with the Los Angeles Rams, and in doing so, has now become the highest-paid non-QB in NFL history.
Specifically, Donald is set to receive a $40 million raise by the Rams and will see $95 million in totality on his contract that runs through the 2024 season. Over the next two seasons, Donald will be guaranteed $65 million. As the contract is structured, Donald will then have the ability to either retire or return in 2024 for an additional $30 million guaranteed. The deal also includes a no-trade clause, per ESPN.
"I'm locked back in to go get us another ring. Why not?" Donald said in a video the team posted after announcing the deal. "At SoFi Stadium, getting chills thinking about it. Let's go to work."
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This contract restructure has been in the works essentially since the clock hit zero in Los Angeles' victory over the Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. Over the course of these negotiations reports had even trickled out that Donald if he was not given a raise that better reflects the current market and where he stands are arguably the best defensive player in the entire NFL. There was also questions regarding Donald's attendance at the Rams' mandatory minicamp. However, his presence is no longer in doubt as he has reportedly taken a physical and signed his new deal, ensuring he'll be back for L.A.'s title defense.
"It's not great news, it's phenomenal, outstanding, any nice adjective that you can place around it," head coach Sean McVay said of Donald's deal on SiriusXM. "But it is, it's a big deal and he's earned it. And he truly is one of one in my opinion. Means so much to me, to our organization. I think the respect that he's garnered around this league from guys that have done it at such a high level, what he's accomplished through his eight years is unparalleled.
"And so [we] wanted to be able to find a solution to, you know, getting him taken care of. Having him continue to lead the way for our team, for our defense. And, you know, we had a feeling it was trending in the right direction when he was at our wedding on Saturday night. So, a lot of good things have happened the last couple days for me."
Donald is no stranger to resetting the market on the defensive side of the ball. Back in August 2018, the now 31-year-old signed a six-year, $135 million extension that included $87 million guaranteed. At the time, that made Donald the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, but he had since been leapfrogged prior this latest deal.
The Pitt product has spent his entire career with the Rams after they selected him with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Upon arrival, Donald has established himself as one of the greatest defensive players of all time and a no-doubt Hall of Famer. In his career, Donald has been named Defensive Player of the Year three times, is a seven-time All-Pro and has been named to the Pro Bowl in all eight seasons of his career.