Rams, Aaron Donald work out a massive new deal

Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals
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Aaron Donald is neither retiring nor holding out.

One of the best defensive players in NFL history has a new contract. The deal replaces the final three years of Donald’s prior arrangement with the team. Other contracts, the salary cap, and Donald’s ongoing stellar play made the existing deal obsolete.

The contract, per a source with knowledge of the terms, has no new years. Instead, the existing deal was torn up, and it was replaced by a new contract.

He’ll get $95 million over the next three years. He’s getting, a literally, a $40 million raise.

The contract includes a pair of voidable years. The void kicks in on the final day of the 2024 league year. Which means that the Rams won’t be able to tag him for 2025. Instead, he’ll become a free agent if he wants to keep playing.

He gets $65 million over the next two years, with no offset on guarantees. It’s structured to let him retire after 2023 with no financial penalty. If decides to play in 2024, he’ll get another $30 million.

Here’s the breakdown of the deal:

1. Signing bonus: $25 million.

2. 2022 base salary: $1.5 million, fully guaranteed.

3. 2022 roster bonus: $5 million, fully guaranteed.

4. 2023 roster bonus: $15 million, fully guaranteed and due on second day of 2023 league year.

5. 2023 base salary: $13.5 million, guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed as of third day of 2023 league year.

6. 2024 roster bonus: $5 million, guaranteed for injury at signing. Fully guaranteed on third day of 2023 league year. With no forfeiture language.

7. 2024 base salary: $30 million, fully guaranteed as of the fifth day of the 2024 league year. It would be paid with $20 million as an option bonus and $10 million as base salary, for cap purposes.

The guarantees have no offset language.

The $95 million in case flow over three years surpasses the $92.3 million paid to Josh Allen and dwarfs the $63 million paid to Patrick Mahomes in the first three years of their respective contracts. It’s the biggest contract ever given to a non-quarterback, and only 11 quarterbacks rank ahead of him in average salary.

He’s the first non-quarterback to pass the $30 million per year threshold.

And it was all done with no new years. And the ability to retire after two years. And the ability, if he so chooses, to sign with any team he wants in 2025.

43 responses to “Rams, Aaron Donald work out a massive new deal

  1. I don’t think anyone who’s not a clear franchise QB with Super Bowl-level upside in the prime of their career deserves that kind of pay, but relative to the crazy money being thrown around these days, he’s earned it.

    It’s an important position and he’s playing it as well as anyone can, which puts his status above the many second-tier QBs who seem to want to be the best-paid in the league despite not winning anything or even being the best at what they do.

  2. I’m all about winning but the rams are going to be non existent in about 3-5 years the way they throw money around. Obviously McVay is out by then too. Gonna suck for whoever is responsible for rebuilding.

  3. Plenty of cash in LA. They are all in for a repeat, just don’t think it’s going to happen.

  4. The guy deserves it. But this is just further proof that there is no such thing as an NFL salary cap.

  5. Aaron Donald is worth it…he’s in that rare handful of all-time defensive lineman with Reggie White,Bruce Smith and Howie Long that can play elite DE and DT. These guys don’t come around too often.

  6. Cap hell!! At least that’s what I keep telling myself whenever other teams sign good players.

    Helps me keep drinking the BB kool aid and pretend that it doesn’t taste like good players just don’t want to play for Belichick without Brady unless they’re massively overpaid.

  7. radar773 says:

    June 6, 2022 at 5:35 pm

    How do the Rams keep finding money to pay all of these super-stars?


    By hitting on picks in round 3 or later

  8. Wow…the Rams sign someone without giving up a boatload of future picks. How refreshing!

  9. Look at all the people salty over the Rams spending their own money the way they want to.
    You would think they’re paying Donald with taxpayer money or something.

  10. I love when Greedy trust fund baby owners get taken to the cleaners

  11. touchback6 says:
    June 6, 2022 at 5:53 pm
    Cap hell!! At least that’s what I keep telling myself whenever other teams sign good players.

    Helps me keep drinking the BB kool aid and pretend that it doesn’t taste like good players just don’t want to play for Belichick without Brady unless they’re massively overpaid.

    12Rate This


    Aaron Donald is not getting any older. BB would have fleeced a team for picks like great GMs do.

    The Rams won’t sniff another sb with this group ever again.


  12. Les Snead has always been the smartest man in the room. Just ask Les Snead. Donald is a Hall of Famer, but this contract will bite the Rams soon.

  13. Donald is a great player but based on age and wear/tear not that great of a player. Should of invested in retaining youth.

  14. I don’t understand how the Rams GM is able to keep signing guys for big money, but he should get some of the credit for that Super Bowl. Wish he was running my team.

  15. Cap keeps rising, so what matters now is the % of cap a player consumes in a given year. The $ numbers will keep rising. If the cap dips, then teams are in trouble. In 5 years every decent DE will be getting this money, but will be lower % of the cap

  16. Within 2 years, the Rams will be the new Falcons leading the league in dead money.

  17. It’s the CBA. Lets you do all kinds with the cap you couldn’t do before 2011.

    Anyway, what the Rams can do, other teams can do, too. They’re just ahead of the curve on this stuff.

  18. Could it really be that it was only one year ago when all the salary cap and draft ‘experts’ around here were proclaiming that the Rams had better pay off with a SB title in 2021 because they over-spent themselves into a one-and-done corner and would not be able to afford any new decent contracts for years to come?

    So how is that prediction working out? Oh, I see. Kicking the can down the road another year with the same refrain and pretending that nobody will notice.

  19. Now Jalen Ramsey will want a new contract. The Rams are doomed.

  20. He needs the money in order to affordable the gas, taxes and house prices in California

  21. Cap lower this year by a good deal but north of $30 by next year, so redo after 2022?

  22. Granted he is one of the best to play in years. I just don’t see any person that is worth this type of money.

  23. Definitely getting paid for what hes done not for what he will do. With that being said , I guess the retirement threat was a bluff.

  24. A lot of money for a man who plays that grueling position…at that age…

  25. I don’t think ANY OF the 30 John Maddens have these types of contracts to give!!!

  26. QBs are protected by the league and the rules, so have seen their careers extended as they stay healthy. Position players, even the all-time greats, have a shelf life. It’s great to see Aaron get his contract; but the superstars of today going through the grind of an NFL career do decline as age and the battering they give and take catches up with them. This contract assures that Aaron will retire a very wealthy man, whenever that day comes. So, in that, good for him!

  27. A great player, but older now and this is a mistake. He was already paid. I can see adding years and incentives, but you need to take into account what he was already paid and the signing bonus.

  28. That’s a lot of money to pay someone to play on a home field filled with fans of all the visiting teams. SMH

  29. That’s only $46.5m guaranteed at signing. The rest is guaranteed for injury + options.

    Still massive, though.

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