Aaron Donald’s New Deal Makes Him A Ram For Life
After months of retirement speculation, vague assurances, and giving himself over to Yeezus, Aaron Donald’s new deal is done. Donald is, of course, the best defensive player of his generation, and when he rides off into the sunset he might just be the best defensive player of all time.
The darkest timeline was avoided and Doctor Strange has contained the Nightmare-Esque reality. His absence would have put a wrench into “RUN IT BACK.” Thre is no beautiful, dark, twisted, fantasy, as Aaron Donald has gotten his bag. As reported by Ian Rapoport, Donald has signed a two-year $65 million extension that keeps the human Kaiju in LA. Donald is now the highest-paid non-QB in the league and would give him $95 million by the end of Donald’s new deal. It goes without saying that Aaron Donald is WORTH EVERY PENNY.
Prior to this gargantuan pay raise, Donald had held out in 2018 before getting a record six-year $135 million dollar deal with $50 million guaranteed at signing and with a signing bonus of $40 million.
Donald’s New Deal was earned
There was a small Sith-like contingent of Rams fandom that thought the Rams should’ve traded him lest he becomes a distraction and bleh bleh bleh. Well, he more than earned his previous contract and the money he received today.
Football is a team sport and he didn’t single-handily win the Rams a Super Bowl but close your eyes and imagine this Rams team without him. It’s not just all the ungodly sacks (59 since 2018), the tackles (236 combined since 2018), or QB hits (78 since 2018), but his overall impact on the Rams’ culture.
Donald was the one leading the charge for Von Miller last year and a big part of how they landed Bobby Wagner, and Odell Beckham, and undoubtedly made an impact on the Jalen Ramsey trade. He’s carried himself exactly how a team captain should and thanks to Von learned how to be a vocal leader.
The Rams don’t trade for Matthew Stafford without that image of Donald tearing up in Green Bay after his rib injury proved him to be a mere mortal. Most other teams would’ve been content to roll with Jared Goff but that image conveyed a sense of immediacy.
While Donald is a god amongst men, that type of power doesn’t last forever and the biggest football crime that could be committed would be for Aaron Donald to retire without a ring or for the Rams to lose him to a team that would make him a champion.
They moved heaven and earth all last year to build a team that could give him a ring, and Donald fulfilled his end of the bargain. Despite getting triple-teamed and held by offensive linemen, Donald routinely caused chaos, and even when he wasn’t directly involved in a play opponents had to make a plan to stop him. This made life infinitely easier for the rest of the team. So as a result of Donald’s very existence, they flourished.
The fact that teams have to plan specifically for him and just pick their poison with the other eleven players is an honor few players have ever held.
The effects of Donald’s new deal
The biggest note of Donald’s new deal is that it doesn’t add any extra years. All the retirement talk was genuine. Yes, he does want to play but the reason he was more than willing to walk away is that he wants to be a dad. His kids live in his home state of Pennsylvania and he works and lives in LA during the season (yes the Rams moved him to a BIGGER HOUSE). He’s spoken of his regret at missing their childhood and this became more emphatic following the birth of his third child.
As much as he’s got a taste for rings he also knows there are more important things. So there’s a world where 2024 is a clean break and he rides off into the sunset while the McVay/Stafford/Kupp run goes on.
OR he gets to 2024 and the Rams are still contending and he decides to go another round. He’s got two years to decide. If it is the march towards the end, he got paid like the king that he is. By the time he’s 33, he could have multiple rings, over 100 sacks, and be on two ALL-DECADE teams, all without suffering any major injuries (KNOCK ON ALL THE WOOD) or seeing his skills rapidly diminish.
That’s about as good as it gets. Aaron Donald’s new deal now allows for the Rams to extend Cooper Kupp who is earning well below his value and it provides the framework to bring Beckham back. Donald was the first big domino that unlocks the rest of the off-season as it should be. He’s the most impactful player on the Rams and at 33 should be the most impactful Ram of all time. ALL HAIL THE KING!