Los Angeles Rams star defensive tackle and future Hall of Famer Aaron Donald created a storm this past weekend on social media.
The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year temporarily changed his Twitter profile to note that he’s retired from the league before ultimately changing it back to active NFL player.
It led to speculation that Donald was actually going to walk away from the game. A few days later, and we can now throw that out the window.
The star defensive tackle responded to former teammate Chris Long Wednesday evening, noting that he’s going to play in 2023. Interestingly enough, Donald made no specific mention of actually returning to the Rams.
Ahead of the Rams’ Super Bowl win last February reports surfaced that Donald would call it quits if that long-awaited Lombardi Trophy came to fruition. Almost immediately after, he signed a three-year, $95 million extension to return to Los Angeles.
Things have changed big time since. The Rams are coming off an ugly five-win season in which Donald missed his first ever action to injury. He sat out the final six games due to an ankle injury.
Could Aaron Donald leave the Los Angeles Rams?
From a financial perspective, it will be hard for Los Angeles to trade Donald. The Rams are currently $12.35 million over the 2023 NFL salary cap. Los Angeles would incur a $44 million dead cap hit by moving off Donald.
With that said, there’s a scenario in play that Donald restructures his deal to head closer to home. Rumors have persisted that he’d like to return to his native Pittsburgh as a member of the Steelers. A lot of the retirement talk has surrounded Donald’s family life and being nearer to those close to him.
- Aaron Donald stats (2014-22): 237 QB hits, 160 tackles for loss, 103 sacks, 24 forced fumbles
As one of the best defensive players of the modern era, there would be a ton of interest in Donald’s services on the trade market. Prior to the injury-plagued 2022 campaign, he had recorded double-digit sacks in each of the past five seasons.
As of right now, any divorce between the Rams and Donald is mere speculation. What we do know is that he’s now set to return for a 10th season in the NFL.