Aaron Donald Rumors: Rams Star Considering Retirement If Contract Demands Aren't Met

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 18, 2022

Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) celebrates during the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Inglewood, Calif., Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is reportedly still considering retirement if his contract isn't tweaked to his liking.

According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, Donald "has a number he will play for" and isn't ruling out retirement if the Rams are unable or unwilling to meet his demands.

Fowler added that Donald and the Rams are still working on a new contract that would be "record-breaking" in nature and would pay him "well above" $28 million per year.

In terms of average annual value, Pittsburgh Steelers pass-rusher T.J. Watt is the highest-paid defensive player in the league at just over $28 million per season, according to Spotrac.

Donald leads the way among defensive tackles at $22.5 million per year, but it appears he is in line for a significant pay increase if he and the Rams can reach an agreement.

Under his current contract, which he agreed to in 2018, Donald is signed through 2024. The belief is that the Rams will likely have to extend his deal further in order to make a pay raise work.

Fowler noted that it is unclear if Donald wants to play into his mid-30s, but extending his deal would be the best way for the Rams to spread out and absorb the salary-cap hit that comes along with a raise.

There can be no argument against the fact that Donald has earned a raise and deserves to be the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

The 30-year-old veteran has already firmly cemented his status as a future first-ballot Hall of Famer by virtue of a long list of accolades he has achieved during his eight-year NFL career.

Donald has been named a Pro Bowler in each of his seasons, and he is a seven-time first-team All-Pro. He is also a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, tying him with Lawrence Taylor and J.J. Watt for the most times winning that award.

Additionally, Donald was the driving force behind the Rams winning the Super Bowl last season, as he had two sacks in L.A.'s 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Donald has only missed two regular-season games during his entire career, and he has started 123 of the 127 games he has appeared in.

His numbers leap off the page as well to the tune of 441 tackles, 98 sacks, 150 tackles for loss, 226 quarterback hits and 23 forced fumbles.

The Rams already lost pass-rusher Von Miller to the Buffalo Bills in free agency, so they can ill afford to lose a dominant interior force like Donald on top of that.

With that in mind, one can only assume the front office will find a way to give Donald what he desires contractually and keep him in blue and yellow for the remainder of his career.