Pro Football Talk reporter Mike Florio has made a big claim about Aaron Donald and his future following his recent contract deal with the Los Angeles Rams.
After months of speculation and talks about possibly retiring, the Los Angeles Rams and Aaron Donald came together to strike a new contract for the perennial First-Team All-Pro, Pro Bowler and now Super Bowl champion defensive tackle.
And this was certainly no small deal either, as a breakdown of his contract shows exactly what the Rams are on the hook for, as they re-worked the three remaining years on his contract to give him a $40M raise through 2024, making him the highest-paid non-QB in NFL history at 31 years old. He also gets $95M through 2024.
Which when you consider what he has done in the game so far with 441 combined tackles, 226 QB hits, 150 tackles for loss and 98 sacks which turned into 8 Pro Bowl appearances, 7 First-team All-Pro honours and 3 NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, it’s fair to say that he earned every penny of it.
Looking into the future
That though is what he’s been able to bring to the table in the past, but what is he going to be able to bring in the future?
At the age of 31, he is certainly no spring chicken, and whilst he is still managing to perform at a very impressive level, registering 84 combined tackles last year – a career-best – to go along with 12.5 sacks in the regular season, you just hope that the next three years don’t see him take a massive plummet in terms of production.
Otherwise the Rams might end up regretting paying him so much when that could have gone to someone younger and with more future potential.
What about the further future?
But what is Donald set to do when his contract runs out? According to Mike Florio, he could look to ride off into the sunset with a different team.
Writing for ProFootballTalk, Florio claimed:
“The structure allows Donald to play for L.A. through 2023, at a total payout of $65 million. At that point, he can retire with no financial consequences of any kind. And if he retires following the 2023 season, the next move could be to try to unretire with a new team.
“At that point, Donald could try to leverage a trade to a location closer to his hometown of Pittsburgh. If the Rams will get no further services from him either way, they could secure some amount of value in exchange for swapping the final season of his deal to another franchise.
“It could be Pittsburgh. It could be Cleveland. It could be Cincinnati. It could be Baltimore. Really, any of the AFC North teams would put him far closer to home, if he decides to keep playing after 2023.”
It should be worth noting that Donald was born in the city of Pittsburgh, played high school football at Penn Hills and played college football at the University of Pittsburgh, so if there’s one team that should have an advantage in this situation, you imagine it would be the Pittsburgh Steelers.
What sort of shape and mindset he’d be in come that part of his life, it’s hard to tell, but it’s certainly something to look closely at moving forward.