Just over an hour before Super Bowl LVII kicked off between the Rams and Bengals, Rodney Harrison dropped a bombshell on the NBC broadcast that L.A. star defensive tackle Aaron Donald was considering retiring after the Super Bowl if the Rams won.
In the months since the Rams Super Bowl win, Donald has not been willing to discuss his future plans, brushing aside questions by choosing to speak instead on the celebration of earning that championship ring. Still, with the NFL Draft now done and mandatory camps beginning, the clock was ticking on Donald to make his decision on next season, as the work to be at peak form for the 2022 season had to begin ASAP. After mulling retirement — and applying pressure to the Rams to pony up to keep his services — Donald is officially back, reworking his deal to stay with the Rams through 2024 on a massive $95 million overall deal that makes him the highest paid non-quarterback in the league on a per-year basis.
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) June 6, 2022
Sources: The #Rams have re-worked All-World DT Aaron Donald’s 3 remaining contract years to give him a massive $40M raise through 2024, making him the highest paid non-QB in NFL history at 31 years old. He gets $95M(!) through 2024. pic.twitter.com/SoDRw4GHE4
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 6, 2022
Aaron Donald now becomes the first non-QB to eclipse $30 million per year. It gives him a $40M raise over last three years of his existing contract with no new years added. The 3-year, now $95M contract makes Donald the highest-paid non QB. Todd France of @AthletesFirst did deal.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 6, 2022
Donald threatened to join the likes of Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson in early retirement, as the two Lions greats walked away from the game while still two of the best at their positions at 31 and 30 years old respectively, but the future Hall of Famer will stay with the champs and try to make it back-to-back titles in 2022.
We’ll see is he sticks with the Rams through the end of his new deal, but he is now at least being properly compensated as one of football’s best players (if not the best) and Los Angeles can keep its sensational defensive line intact. Quarterbacks and interior offensive linemen around the league will be disappointed by the news, but the Rams are thrilled to pay up to keep Donald on their team.