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Aaron Donald reportedly willing to retire if Los Angeles Rams don’t meet contract price

Matt Johnson

Before dominating in the Super Bowl, the football world learned that Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald was contemplating retirement. While the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year wants to return for the 2022 season, it seems there is a chance he still walks away.

Donald, age 30, made it clear after winning the Super Bowl that he is already at a great place in his life. The 6-foot-1 defensive lineman is regarded as one of the best players at his position in NFL history. With a young family and health in his favor, there is an appeal in walking away from football now.

However, ever the competitor, there is a strong appeal in coming back and playing another year. Donald earned first-team All-Pro honors for the seventh consecutive year in 2021 and he is an integral part of one of the top NFL defenses in 2022. He also wants to win another Super Bowl ring.

With that said, Donald is seeing everything that happened during this dramatic offseason. The salaries for the highest paid NFL players in 2022 skyrocketed, with many cornerbacks and receivers joining the $20-plus million per year club. Considering Donald is viewed by many as the best overall player in football, that warrants a raise.

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN wrote that the Rams want to sign Donald to a contract extension. However, the All-Pro defensive tackle is willing to follow through on his retirement plan if his price isn’t met.

Related: Aaron Donald ’50-50′ on retiring or playing

“If it’s not met, retirement can still go down. Adding years to an already existing three-year pact takes Donald well into his mid-30s, and who knows whether he wants to play that long? But that’s the best way for Los Angeles to stretch out the money for cap purposes.

Jeremy Fowler on contract talks between Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Will Aaron Donald retire?

NFL: Super Bowl LVI-Los Angeles Rams Championship Parade
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles is confident Donald will be on the field when the 2022 Rams schedule kicks off in Week 1. Threatening to retire, months after it was reported by multiple outlets before and after the Super Bowl, suggests the organization should still take this threat seriously.

Should Tom Brady have stayed retired?

Related: Projecting a Cooper Kupp contract extension

Donald is far too valuable for the team to lose over money. While Matthew Stafford reversed this team’s playoff fortunes and Cooper Kupp won Super Bowl MVP, Los Angeles doesn’t have a Super Bowl parade without Donald.

  • Aaron Donald stats (2021): 25 quarterback hits, 19 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks

He likely doesn’t intend to play another five-plus years, which means a long-term deal can spread the money out and the Rams can figure out the financial hits later. The important thing is to provide Donald with the guaranteed money and the average annual value he earned. When the negotiations are done, Donald should likely sign an extension worth more than $30 million per season.