In July, Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald made it clear that his career was tied to coach Sean McVay.
“I told Sean when he first got here,” Donald said during training camp. “We came up with some things early and I first told him as long as he’s the head coach here, I want to continue to build my legacy with him. As long as he’s here and I got the ability to still play at a high level, I’m going to be here. When he’s gone and it’s all said and done, that probably will be when I’m hanging it up, too.”
So with McVay potentially leaving, what will Donald do?
His latest contract makes it very easy to retire after the 2023 season. The deal was designed to include no financial penalty, at that point.
If he retires now, that’s a different story. He’d have to pay back some of the money he has received. And he’d give up $28.5 million in compensation due in 2023.
Another possibility would be to seek a trade to a contending team. That would entail a sizable cap charge, and Donald would have to want to do it — his contract has a no-trade clause.
Regardless of how it plays out, Donald’s desire to stay with the Rams becomes a major potential complication flowing from McVay’s apparent desire to leave. Especially if Donald signed his latest deal thinking McVay definitely would remain with the team through 2023, at a minimum.