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Los Angeles Rams likely to sign Aaron Donald to massive contract extension

Vincent Frank

Star Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald reset the market for that side of the ball when he signed a six-year, $135 million contract extension with the team back in August of 2018 after holding out from a majority of training camp.

Fresh off helping lead the Rams to the Super Bowl title, there was some thought given to the idea that the thee-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year might retire. While those rumors have died down some heading into the summer, we’re hearing more on the 30-year-old Donald and his future with the Rams.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Rams are in negotiations to sign Donald to a massive contract extension — resetting the market for defensive players in the process.

  • Aaron Donald stats (eight-year career): 441 tackles, 226 QB hits, 150 tackles for loss, 98 sacks, 23 forced fumbles

Legitimately the best defensie player in the NFL since Los Angeles made the Pittsburgh product the No. 13 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Donald obviously deserves a pay raise. There’s very little to dispute that notion.

And in reality, it’s likely why he leaked retirement talk ahead of the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl win over Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals. In said win, Donald recorded three quarterback hits, two tackles for loss and two sacks. He was a man on a mission.

Related: Aaron Donald and NFL’s highest-paid players

Looking at potential Aaron Donald contract extension

aaron donald contract extension
Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt reset the market for defensive players with a four-year, $112 million extension back in September of 2021. His deal calls for north of $28 million annually.

As of right now, there’s five defensive players who are paid at a higher clip than Aaron Donald on a per-year basis.

  • T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers: $28 million
  • Joey Bosa, Los Angeles Chargers: $27 million
  • Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns: $25 million
  • Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders: $23.5 million
  • Khalil Mack, Los Angeles Chargers: $23.5 million

What do those five have in common? They are all edge rushers. As for what Donald brings to the table, his ability to rush the passer from the interior of the defensive line is unmatched in the modern history of the NFL.

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The futue first-ballott Hall of Famer is likely looking at a deal that will pay him $30 million annually. How said contract is structured remains to be seen in that he still has three years remaining on his current deal. The likeliest scenario is that two more years are added to his current deal, bringing his average salary from $22.5 million to $30 million.

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