Right up until his landmark summer contract agreement, Aaron Donald teased retirement. The all-time great is going into his age-31 season, but during the negotiations with the Rams, Donald said he knows he has at least three more years in the NFL. The Rams had Donald under contract through 2024, via the 2018 extension he signed, but gave the seven-time All-Pro a straight raise in June. He is now signed to a defender-record $31.7MM per year through 2024.
“I think myself and the front office, talking with his reps, were really: ‘OK, if Aaron wants to play football, then really it’s on us to figure out a way to get the money right. Aaron shouldn’t retire because of us,'” Rams GM Les Snead said, via the New York Times’ Emmanuel Morgan. “The third part, and I think Aaron did a really nice job, is because he was actually honest and said, ‘Look, I know I got three years.’ Then it’s working creatively to be able to reward Aaron, but also engineer a contract where if he does retire in three years, it doesn’t punish the club for the future.”
Donald, whose deal also includes a no-trade clause, recently connected his future to Sean McVay‘s. This accord came during an offseason in which the Rams also extended Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp. The latter’s deal also came with multiple years remaining on his previous contract. Here is more from the NFC West:
- Seahawks rookie running back Kenneth Walker represents a key part of the team’s backfield equation, one that recently lost Chris Carson to retirement. Walker will not be available for a bit, with Pete Carroll indicating the second-round pick is battling “a little hernia thing” that may sidetrack him for the rest of the preseason. The Seahawks are now targeting Week 1 for Walker’s return, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes (Twitter links). Walker has already undergone surgery to address the problem, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Seattle re-signed Rashaad Penny in March, and while the injury-prone back missed time recently because of a groin issue, he returned to practice Tuesday.
- In addition to Walker being out for the Seahawks’ second preseason game, the team’s quarterback competition will see one of its members down for that contest. Drew Lock contracted COVID-19 and will miss the Seahawks’ Thursday tilt against the Bears. Already behind Geno Smith in vying to succeed Russell Wilson, with Carroll saying Tuesday that Smith remains “the No. 1 guy,” Lock will be shut down by the NFL’s current COVID protocols. Players are no longer required to be moved off the roster for virus reasons, but they must isolate for at least five days after testing positive.
- Mike McGlinchey played eight snaps in the 49ers’ first preseason game, returning from the torn quadriceps injury he suffered in November. But Kyle Shanahan said the veteran right tackle experienced knee irritation after the preseason action, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes. While the sixth-year HC added the PRP procedure McGlinchey underwent is not connected to the surgery had reattaching his quad tendon to the kneecap, it should be something to monitor here. McGlinchey is in a contract year, and the 49ers let his 2021 backup — Tom Compton — sign with the Broncos. Colton McKivitz, who spent most of last year on the team’s practice squad, is in place as McGlinchey’s backup.
- Cardinals running backs coach James Saxon is on administrative leave stemming from two domestic battery charges, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com reports. These charges stem from an alleged May incident in Indianapolis, per Weinfuss, who adds one of the charges is a Level 6 felony for an alleged assault on a woman in front of a child under the age of 16. The Level 6 charge in Indiana comes with a sentence of six months to 2 1/2 years in prison. The other charge is a Class A misdemeanor. Saxon, 56, has been an NFL assistant since 2000 and with the Cardinals since 2019.