Sean McVay Discusses Aaron Donald's Historic Rams Contract: 'He's Earned It'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 7, 2022

INGLEWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Los Angeles Rams Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald (99) celebrates after forcing Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Joe Burrow (9) (not pictured) to throw an incomplete pass in the fourth quarter and help seal the victory during Super Bowl LVI between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams on February 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Aaron Donald is coming back to anchor the Los Angeles Rams defense, and head coach Sean McVay couldn't be happier about it.

McVay talked about the Donald deal during an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio's Town Hall (h/t Michael Baca of NFL.com):

"It's not great news, it's phenomenal, outstanding, any nice adjective that you can place around it. But it is. It's a big deal, and he's earned it. He truly is one of one in my opinion. Means so much to me, to our organization. I think the respect that he's garnered around this league from guys that have done it at such a high level, what he's accomplished through his eight years is unparalleled. And so [we] wanted to be able to find a solution to getting him taken care of. Having him continue to lead the way for our team, for our defense. And we had a feeling it was trending in the right direction when he was at my wedding on Saturday night. So, a lot of good things have happened the last couple days for me."

The Rams announced Monday that Donald was returning on a new deal, which ended speculation about whether the future Hall of Famer would retire after helping lead the team to the Super Bowl title last season.

Baca noted the defensive tackle will earn $95 million through the 2024 season, which makes him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history.

It's hard to argue with McVay's assertion that Donald "earned it."

The Pitt product is already one of the best players in league history with seven All-Pro selections, eight Pro Bowl nods, three Defensive Player of the Year awards and the 2014 Defensive Rookie of the Year award in eight seasons.

He has far surpassed even the highest expectations that accompanied him as the No. 13 pick of the 2014 draft, and he has done so while missing just two games.

Donald finished last season with 84 tackles, 12.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and four passes defended and then took over the Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals with two sacks and a key pressure on the AFC team's final snap, a 4th-and-1 from the Rams' 49-yard line.

Donald is a franchise icon, and the Rams paid him as such.