For a minute there, it appeared as if we might have seen the last of Aaron Donald. Leading up to Super Bowl LVI, there was a report that suggested if the Los Angeles Rams were to beat the Cincinnati Bengals to claim the Lombardi Trophy — which they did — then Donald may consider retiring. In the immediate aftermath of that Super Bowl win, Donald deflected questions about his future, but now it seems like he’s ready to “run it back” for the 2022 season.
At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Rams GM Les Snead told reporters on Wednesday that the team has had discussions with Donald’s team about his contract. He also said that the two sides are in a good place this offseason.
“I never say anything with certainty (but) that’s not a concern right now,” said Snead, via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic.
Donald is currently signed through the 2024 season after he inked a record six-year, $135 million extension back in 2019 that included nearly $87 million guaranteed. Despite that, Donald is still just the 23rd highest-paid player in the NFL when it comes to average annual salary for 2022. Four defensive players — T.J. Watt, Joey Bosa, Myles Garrett, and Khalil Mack — are above him in AAV as things are currently constituted.
The three-time Defensive Player of the Year has a base salary of $9.25 million for the 2022 season, which includes a $26.75 million cap hit. If the two sides were to reach an extension, they could work to bring that cap number down thus creating more space for the organization as they try and build another Super Bowl-caliber roster as they look to go back-to-back.
The 30-year-old — who joined the Rams as a first-round pick back in 2014 — totaled 12.5 sacks in 2021 to go along with a career-high 84 tackles. During L.A.’s Super Bowl run, Donald — who arguably could have been Super Bowl MVP — totaled 3.5 sacks and 13 tackles through four playoff games.