Three transcendent players signed new contracts this week. Only one got a truly transcendent deal. And he’s the one who chose to withhold his services.
Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who stayed away for all of the 2017 training camp and preseason and held out again this year, has a contract that doesn’t simply nudge the bar higher. It shoves it several levels up.
Here’s the full breakdown of the deal that sets a record that may not soon be broken.
1. Signing bonus: $40 million.
2. 2018 base salary: $892,000, fully guaranteed at signing with no offset.
3. 2019 base salary: $9.108 million, fully guaranteed at signing with no offset.
4. 2020 base salary: $17 million, guaranteed for injury at signing, and fully guaranteed in March of 2019, with no offset.
5. 2021 base salary: $19.892 million, guaranteed for injury at signing, and fully guaranteed in March of 2020, with no offset for $10 million of the total amount.
6. 2022 base salary: $9.25 million, non-guaranteed.
7. 2022 roster bonus: $5 million, due second day of league year.
8. 2023 base salary: $14 million, non-guaranteed.
9. 2023 roster bonus: $5 million, due second day of league year.
10. 2024 base salary: $16.75 million, non-guaranteed.
11. 2024 roster bonus: $5 million, due second day of league year.
Now for a little analysis and some extra facts.
First, the $40 million signing bonus is more than any non-quarterback ever has gotten.
Second, Donald will make $50 million during the first two years of the deal, all of it fully guaranteed at signing, with no offset.
Third, by March 2019, Donald will have $67 million fully guaranteed, with no offset. Given what they’ll be paying him the next two years and the cap hit resulting from cutting him by then, the chances of the Rams cutting him before the next $17 million becomes fully guaranteed as slim and none.
Fourth, by March 2020, Donald will have $86.892 million fully guaranteed, $76.892 million of which will be exempt from offset. Again, given what he’ll make in 2018 and 2019, the chances of the Rams dumping Donald after only two years are remote.
Fifth, the new-money average is $22.5 million, and the total average at signing is $20.2 million.
Sixth, and perhaps most importantly, Donald would have made roughly $40 million over the next three years under the last year of his rookie deal and a pair of franchise tags. He’ll exceed that by $27 million, an amazing feat — especially in light of the position he plays.