The three-time Defensive Player of the Year has three years remaining on his current deal, which he signed in 2018 following a holdout one year earlier. While Donald’s current deal once reset the market, the going rate for top defensive players is now around $28MM. The star defensive tackle is currently making $22.5MM per year, so there’s a bit of a gap to make up between the two sides.
As Fowler notes, the retirement rumblings coming out of Donald’s camp were “real,” and they may have been influenced by his contract. Per the reporter, Donald has a certain “number he will play for,” so the Rams will have to pony up if they want him on the field next season. While contract talks were previously described as “nothing but positive,” Fowler cautions that Donald could still hang up his cleats if his demands aren’t met.
An extension would be an interesting tactic for the Rams to take. By adding extra years to the three remaining three years on Donald’s contract, the Rams would be locking themselves into the player through his mid-30s. However, as Fowler notes, this would be the team’s best path to spread cap space and retain their core.
While Donald wasn’t able to defend his Defensive Player of the Year award in 2021, he still had a standout campaign, earning his seventh-straight first-team All-Pro nod. Donald finished the season with a career-high 84 tackles to go along with 12.5 sacks, 25 QB hits, and four forced fumbles.