Aaron Donald is one of the best players in football.
In three years with the Rams, he's recorded 163 tackles, 28 sacks, seven passes defensed, four forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Pro-Football-Reference rates him as the most valuable defensive player in the league during that time, tied with Von Miller and Bobby Wagner. He's gotten better and better with each passing season, and last year he actually finished fourth in the NFL in pressures (sacks plus hits plus hurries, per Pro Football Focus) despite the fact that he's a defensive tackle.
Now he's headed into the final year of his rookie contract. He's set to make just over $3.2 million against the cap while collecting a base salary of approximately $1.8 million. In other words, he's one of the most underpaid players in the league. He's also eligible for a contract extension.
"At the end of the day, that's our brother," Brockers said during a Sirius XM Radio appearance. "We'll go to war with him and for him. We respect any decision. He deserves it. You look at the record, being the most dominant defensive tackle in the league, and he's just making all these phenomenal numbers and stuff like that. And, obviously, pay the man. Obviously. He's put in him some major work for this team and I think he deserves it."
Donald seems likely to get paid at or near the top of the defensive tackle market. What might that look like? Well, it'll look like a whole lot of cash over five or six years.
The Rams have plenty of available cap space with which to pay Donald, but breaking the bank like this eventually has consequences, so it makes sense to haggle until you come up with a deal you definitively like. The Rams can still lock Donald in for at least three or four more seasons, with his fifth-year option and then the franchise tag, if they can't manage to come to a long-term agreement just yet. It's better for both sides if they do, but at least they have that fallback option.