Rams want to repeat: Aaron Donald agrees to mega deal! Aaron Donald agrees to mega deal!
He hinted at retirement, said he would be “at peace” if he did not play for the Super Bowl-champion Rams in 2022.
But there was no way the Rams were going to try to become the first team in nearly two decades to repeat without star defensive tackle Aaron Donald in the fold.
On Monday, two days after he got married, coach Sean McVay had more to celebrate when the Rams agreed to terms with Donald on a deal that will make the three-time NFL defensive player of the year the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
Terms of the deal were not available, but NFL.com reported that Donald was guaranteed $65 million in the next two seasons and $95 million through 2024.
So, the Rams will attempt to — as Donald said during a Super Bowl victory parade — “run it back” with their star pass rusher toting a new infusion of millions in his pocket.
“Locked back in, to go get us another ring,” Donald said in a video released by the Rams. “Why not? At SoFi Stadium, getting chills thinking about it. Let’s go to work.”
Donald, 31, was absent from organized team activities the last two months but is expected to attend a mandatory minicamp that begins Tuesday in Thousand Oaks.
Rams players, not surprisingly, rejoiced at news that Donald agreed to terms with the Rams.
“Yessir!” new Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner tweeted.
Donald, a seven-time All-Pro, returns to lead a defense that now includes Wagner, a six-time All-Pro, and three-time All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
This is not the first time Donald will be the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player.
Longtime Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner returns Southern California as a new member of Super Bowl champion Rams, and can see how family matters.
In 2018, he signed a six-year, $135-million contract that included $50 million in guarantees, according to overthecap.com. Donald’s status atop the defensive player salary list lasted one day.
Then-Chicago Bears edge rusher Khalil Mack quickly eclipsed that deal with a contract that included $60 million in guarantees. Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt and Chargers end Joey Bosa have since signed contracts that include $80 million and $78 million in guarantees, according to overthecap.com.
Donald and his agents watched that happen as he outperformed his contract with yearly performances that almost certainly will make him a first-ballot Hall of Fame player after he finishes his career.
Donald, the 13th pick in the 2014 draft, has amassed 98 sacks, including 20½ during the 2018 season. Last season, he had 12½ sacks for a defense that also included edge rusher Leonard Floyd and, after a midseason trade, linebacker Von Miller.
With a Super Bowl championship under his belt, Sean McVay’s big year continues with marriage. Here’s what he has said about a long-term future in coaching.
Donald helped lead the Rams to a Super Bowl LVI victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, his late pressure on quarterback Joe Burrow clinching the win and starting a celebration at SoFi Stadium.
Before kickoff for the Super Bowl, a report emerged that Donald was contemplating retirement. After the game, Donald did not dispute the report, saying he would take time to enjoy the victory. Last week, during an appearance on the “I Am Athlete” podcast, Donald said he would be “at peace” if he did not play in 2022.
But the Rams had made new contracts for quarterback Matthew Stafford and Donald their top offseason priorities. In March, Stafford signed a four-year extension that could be worth as much as $160 million.
It was a foregone conclusion that they would find a way to reward Donald, who was due to carry a salary-cap number of $26.75 million in 2022, according to overthecap.com.
“Things are trending in the right direction,” McVay said last week.
Kevin Demoff, the Rams’ chief operating officer, has said that McVay and general manager Les Snead will receive contract extensions.
After a recent spike in salaries for NFL wide receivers, can Cooper Kupp expect to haul in a new contract that will make him the highest-paid wideout?
But working out the terms of a new deal for star receiver Cooper Kupp would be the next order of business.
Last season, Kupp led the NFL in receptions, yards receiving and touchdown catches. He was named NFL offensive player of the year, and then caught two touchdown passes in the Super Bowl, including the game-winner, and was voted Super Bowl most valuable player.
Kupp signed an extension before the 2020 season. He is due to carry a salary-cap number of $18.7 million, according to overthecap.com.
Kupp attended offseason workouts and is expected to participate in minicamp.
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