Sources: Rams make Donald best-paid non-QB

Sources: Rams make Donald best-paid non-QB thumbnail

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    Sarah BarshopESPN Staff Writer

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    • Covered the Packers for ESPN Milwaukee
    • Marquette University graduate

All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald is returning to the Los Angeles Rams with a big raise that will make him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL.

The Rams reworked Donald’s deal to give him a $40 million raise over the last three years of his existing contract, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, making him the first non-quarterback to eclipse $30 million per season. The reworked deal brings the total value of Donald’s contract to $95 million over three years.

“It is a big deal,” Rams coach Sean McVay stated Monday during a SiriusXM interview. He’s earned it. He is truly one of one, in my opinion. It means so much to me and our organization. He has earned the respect of many in this league for his accomplishments. He has achieved so much in his eight years of service.

“So [we], wanted to be able find a way to get him taken care of and have him continue to lead the team’s way, for our defense. It was trending in the right directions when he was at our wedding on Saturday night. “

The deal, which was negotiated by agent Todd France, includes $65 million guaranteed in the first two years of the contract and is structured in such a way that Donald can either retire or return for the 2024 season for an additional $30 million guaranteed, sources told Schefter. A source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that the reworked contract included a no trade clause.

Donald, 31, underwent his physical and signed the contract Monday. The Rams will begin mandatory minicamp Tuesday.

The Rams tweeted a video from Donald on Monday in which he said: “What’s up, it’s Aaron Donald, I’m locked back in. Let’s get another ring. Why not? It’s a great place to get chills just thinking about it. Let’s get to work. “

Donald had indicated on the “I Am Athlete” podcast last week that his return for the 2022 season was contingent on getting a new deal and that he would be “at peace” with his career if an agreement couldn’t be reached.

McVay acknowledged Donald’s comments but said, “This was something you felt good about.

” The things you see every day — the way he works, his consistency, how he influences our team, and even me as a coach, everything — all of these are signs that you have what you want in a Ram.

“He is a special man. … Aaron is a great guy. “

McVay also credited team owner Stan Kroenke for making sure the deal with Donald got done.

“Mr. Kroenke understands how important it is for you to take care of your foundational men who have done an excellent job,” McVay stated. It’s a huge deal. “

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year sealed the Rams’ victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI when he pressured quarterback Joe Burrow into an errant throw on fourth down late in the fourth quarter.

Donald had 12.5 sacks in the regular season and then followed that up with 3.5 more in the playoffs during the Rams’ run to the Super Bowl championship.

In eight seasons, Donald has 98 sacks. He has six seasons with at least 10 sacks — the second most by a primary interior lineman since sacks became official in 1982, trailing only John Randle, who had nine such seasons. He has been selected to play in the Pro Bowl in each of his NFL season and has been a seven-time All-Pro selection. He is one of three defensive players since the 1970 merger to earn a Pro Bowl selection in each of their first eight NFL seasons, alongside Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor (10) and Derrick Thomas (9).

ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.

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