Aaron Donald, an All-Pro defensive tackle, is returning to the Los Angeles Rams with a significant raise that will make him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Rams reworked Donald’s contract to give him a $40 million raise over the last three years of his previous contract, making him the first non-quarterback to earn more than $30 million per season. Donald’s contract has been modified and now has a total value of $95 million over three years.
In a SiriusXM town hall interview on Monday, Rams coach Sean McVay stated, “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.
“So [we] wanted to be able to find a solution to getting him taken care of, having him continue to lead the way for our team, for our defense. We had a feeling it was trending in the right direction when he was at my wedding on Saturday night.”
According to Schefter, the deal contains $65 million in guaranteed money in the first two years of the contract and is structured in such a way that Donald can either retire or return for the 2024 season for an extra $30 million guaranteed.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the modified contract contains a no-trade clause.
Donald, 31, had his physical on Monday and signed the contract. The Rams’ required minicamp begins on Tuesday.
On Monday, the Rams released a video of Donald saying, “What’s up, it’s Aaron Donald, I’m locked back in. Let’s go get us another ring. Why not? At SoFi Stadium, getting chills thinking about it. Let’s go to work .”
Last week, Donald said on the “I Am Athlete” podcast that his return for the 2022 season was reliant on a new contract, and that if one couldn’t be struck, he would be “at peace” with his career.
“This was something that you felt good about,” McVay replied, recognizing the “business side” of Donald’s statements.
“He’s a special guy. … I’m really happy for Aaron.”
McVay also acknowledged team owner Stan Kroenke with ensuring the Donald transaction was completed.
“Mr. Kroenke knows how important it is to really be able to take care of your foundational guys that have done an outstanding job,” McVay said. “It’s a big deal.”
When he forced quarterback Joe Burrow into an inaccurate throw on fourth down late in the fourth quarter, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year clinched the Rams’ victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.
During the Rams’ journey to the Super Bowl triumph, Donald had 12.5 sacks during the regular season and 3.5 more in the playoffs.
Donald has 98 sacks in eight seasons. He has six seasons with at least 10 sacks, second most by a primary interior lineman since sacks were became official in 1982, behind only John Randle’s nine.
He has been a first-time All-Pro pick seven times and has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his NFL seasons. Along with Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor (10) and Derrick Thomas (9), he is one of three defensive players to be named to the Pro Bowl in each of their first eight NFL seasons since the 1970 merger.
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