Aaron Donald is “at peace” with his career if he doesn’t get a new deal

Los Angeles Rams defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 to win the NFL Super Bowl LVI football game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
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Aaron Donald has done it all. He has three Defensive Player of the Year awards, eight Pro Bowls, seven All-Pros, an All-Decade honor, 98 career sacks, and now a Super Bowl ring.

The Rams defensive lineman has joined Lawrence Taylor in the conversation for the greatest defensive player in history, and Donald will enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame five years after his retirement.

Donald just turned 31, but he said he could walk away after eight seasons without playing another down and be satisfied.

While appearing on Brandon Marshall’s I Am Athlete podcast, Donald said four times he is “at peace” with his career.

Donald is not participating in the team’s voluntary organized team activities as he seeks a new contract, having outplayed the six-year, $125 million deal he signed in 2018.

“It ain’t about the money, but it’s a business at the end of the day,” Donald said. “That’s what you’ve got to see For me, it’s about winning. I don’t want to play football if I can’t win anyway, so I feel like if I got a real opportunity to win another Super Bowl, then it makes sense to play. But again, it’s still a business. We’ve got to handle the business side of things, and if that wasn’t to get handled then, you know, it is what it is type of situation. I’ll be fine regardless.

“But me talking about retirement, that was happening way before we won a Super Bowl. I’ve been saying that since I got into the league that I was going to play eight years and be done. That’s just what I’ve been saying. It just came out and then everybody think that, ‘Oh, he said if he wins a Super Bowl he’s going to retire.’ Nah, I got teammates, coaches, my family who know about this. I said I’m going to play eight years, and I’m going to probably be done playing football. But winning a Super Bowl you get kind of a little addicted to it. I ain’t going to lie. I want to feel that again. That experience is like none other. If I was to play, it’s just to win another Super Bowl, but at the end of the day, it’s still a business and it got to make sense to me and my family.”

Donald is scheduled to make $14.25 million in 2022, which ranks 102nd in the NFL, per spotrac.com. His avearge of $22.5 million ranks 27th.

Donald admits the sides “probably [will] figure it out,” but he said he won’t be mad if they don’t.

“I don’t need to play football to be fine. I’m fine,” Donald said. “I was blessed to play this game, to make the money I made, the accomplishments I made in eight years is, like, I’m complete. If I can win another one, that’s great. But if not, I’m at peace.”

Donald told NBC Sports studio analyst Rodney Harrison before Super Bowl LVI that he would consider retiring if the Rams won. It sounds as if Donald will consider retiring if he doesn’t get a new deal, and the Rams surely will do what they have to do to convince him to keep playing.

Money, after all, talks.

44 responses to “Aaron Donald is “at peace” with his career if he doesn’t get a new deal

  1. Greatest Defensive player ever? I’d take Bob Lilly as the best TACKLE of all time and Reggie White as the best end. And I don’t think those two compare to LT.

    It’s not about the money. It’s about the money (translation).

  2. Gosh, he’s such a strange man!
    Doesn’t need football?
    That’s almost un-American. Has anyone ever heard of someone not needing football?

  3. Ask LeVeon Bell how effective sitting out a season helps your career

  4. Right, it’s not about the money. He’s made near $100M in his career not counting endorsements and is scheduled to make $14M this year. But it’s not about the money.

  5. “It ain’t about the money, but it’s a business at the end of the day,”

    He doesn’t need to say this it’s about the money obviously and he’s won a super bowl and that’s fine

  6. These guys crack me up. Trying to sound all noble. He’s “at peace”, he’s “complete”, it “ain’t about the money”. If that’s the case, retire or play on the two years you still have left your contract. Why are you trying to get a new one?

  7. Can’t believe Donald is 31 already, jc. Seems like yesterday I was mad at the Lions for not drafting him knowing Suh would walk.

  8. Someone who needs this many words and this level of circumlocution to address how at peace he is is not at peace. Many of us know this from experience. It sounds as though Donald is trying to convince himself more than he is his interviewer.

  9. I’m not sure why the paper people sign are still called contracts. Nobody ever keeps them.

  10. He said he was at peace with not winning another SB, not retiring. The dude should probably be making $20m/yr with the impact he has on teams, but then again, there’s only so much to go around and some concessions may have to be made on his part if he truly wants to play.

    Seems reasonable to give him a 4 year $120m contract, 2 guaranteed @ $50m with a $20m signing bonus, $5m roster/workout with a total of $10m+ spread over 2 years in incentives to make it $60m total and a team option for years 3 & 4.

    He’s worth $50m over 2 years, but he has 2 years remaining on his current deal so this could get ugly.

  11. There is no doubt he is one of the all time greats. He only wants to play for another superbowl but also wants to get PAID which might make it harder to keep the team at a Superbowl level so I’d say it’s all about the money. No issue with that but call it what it is.

  12. “It ain’t about the money, but it’s a business at the end of the day,” Donald said.

    So it’s about the money…

  13. Yeah, your right! 14+ million is just not enough. Sure you got two more years on the contract, but with gas prices the way they are…

  14. So he’s sitting out for a new deal and at the same time saying that he doesn’t care about playing?

  15. If it isn’t all about the money then why does the conversation always center around a new contract? Why will he retire if he doesn’t get the money he wants if it’s not about the money? Here’s what will happen … he gets a new deal for more money … and he plays. Because it’s all about the money.

  16. As the best defensive player in the NFL, he should also be the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

  17. “It ain’t about the money. It’s about winning more Super Bowls. But that won’t happen unless they pay me more money. Let me repeat, it ain’t about the money. Unless it is.”

  18. Anyone know what he does outside of football like in the off-season? Just in case he doesn’t get a new contract. Want to make sure he’s ok.

  19. He’s worth more than he’s getting, but the lack of gratitude shown by some of these players is annoying.

  20. touchback6 says:
    May 31, 2022 at 2:54 am
    Come to New England. Look what BB did for Lawrence Taylor


    It would be more accurate to say “look what LT did for BB”…..just like it had become clear that “look what Tom Brady did for BB” is also accurate

  21. Trade him now while he has value. A Super Bowl win gives you at least a 3 year free pass with fans.

  22. AD will continue to play.
    He has often missed off-seasons. Not that he needs them.

    AD will get an extension.

    I think Rams should play one more year with him and trade him before next year.
    Get the draft picks (2 ones minimum) and cap relief.

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