The Rams are remaining optimistic in regard to a potential extension for All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, but there is “still a ways to go” before an agreement is reached, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay has been texting with Donald, and the results have been positive, as he relayed to Andrew Siciliano of NFL.com (Twitter link). “He’s responding more than he was at this time last year, so that’s what I feel good about,” said McVay.
Donald, 26, is heading into the final year of his contract, during which he will earn just $6.892MM under the terms of his fifth-year option. After staging a holdout in 2017, Donald has not indicated whether he’ll employ the same strategy this season. But talks between Donald and the Rams don’t seem to be tinged by any sort of acrimony, as evidenced both by McVay’s recent comments and Los Angeles’ admission that Donald will likely become the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.
At present, the highest-paid defender in the league is Broncos edge rusher Von Miller, who collects $19.083MM annually. Among interior defenders, the Eagles’ Fletcher Cox leads the way at $17.1MM per season, but Donald figures to blow by that mark and instead target Miller’s annual value. Indeed, it’s entirely possible — and perhaps even likely — that Donald will become the first defensive player to cross the $20MM/year threshold.
Donald, of course, has made a strong argument for his next contract by playing as the league’s best defender for some time. Donald, the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year, has earned Pro Bowl nods in each of his four pro campaigns, and was named a first-team All-Pro from 2015-17. Last season, Donald not only led the league in total pressures, but also tied for the best rate of pressure on a per-rate basis, tweets Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus, indicating Donald’s incredible level of efficiency.
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