The Rams and the rest of the NFL need to take very seriously the possibility that Aaron Donald will retire from pro football. After rumors suddenly emerged on Sunday (thanks to Rodney Harrison, who lit the fuse on the retirement bomb), Donald didn’t say it was crazy talk or laugh it off or explain that he has plenty more work to do. Instead, he said he’s “in the moment.”
It’s hardly the kind of, “Retirement? No way” response that would have pulled the plug on the chatter. So it needs to be taken seriously that Donald may decide to call it quits after eight NFL seasons.
Maybe it’s a play to get a much-deserved raise. He currently averages $22.5 million per year on his contract, and the final three years of his existing contract will pay a total of $55 million, an average of only $18.33 million per year. Early in his career, he wasn’t bashful about holding out to get what he deserved.
Currently, Donald has to ask himself if it’s worth it. He puts himself through a lot, physically and mentally. Now that he has done it all and has made his money and will waltz into football immortality as one of the best to have ever done it, why keep doing it for $18.33 million per year?
That could be what this is all about. Either way, the Rams would be wise to take a long look at his contract, his value, and whether they’re interested or able to make him an offer that will persuade him to stick around for more opportunities to win more Super Bowls.