Aaron Donald has been seeking a new contract from the Los Angeles Rams, and there was talk earlier this offseason that the two sides were moving toward an agreement. That momentum has seemingly slowed, and Donald’s future may be in question because of it.
Donald did not rule out retirement after the Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, he still has not. Fowler wrote in his column this week that Donald has a specific contract figure in mind that he wants the Rams to meet. If they are unwilling to pay that amount, retirement is still on the table.
“Keep in mind that the retirement buzz around Donald — first delivered by NBC’s Rodney Harrison on the Super Bowl pregame broadcast — was always real,” Fowler wrote. “And it’s my understanding that Donald has a number he will play for. If it’s not met, retirement can still go down. Adding years to an already existing three-year pact takes Donald well into his mid-30s, and who knows whether he wants to play that long? But that’s the best way for Los Angeles to stretch out the money for cap purposes.”
Donald, 30, is already the highest-paid defensive tackle in the NFL with an average annual salary of $22.5 million. He’s just outside the top five highest-paid defensive players. TJ Watt reset the market with the four-year, $112 million extension he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers last year.
Fowler noted that the Rams are still working toward signing Donald, so the retirement scenario seems unlikely. It is possible the three-time Defensive Player of the Year is using it as leverage, though it should be noted that L.A. has already failed to meet two of his offseason demands.