It’s been a busy week for big contracts in the NFL. Odell Beckham Jr. was given the richest deal for a wide receiver in league history. Aaron Rodgers signed a contract that will pay him at least $100 million in guarantees, which includes nearly $70 million before the end of this calendar year. Now, we can add defensive tackle Aaron Donald to the mix.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Donald and the Los Angeles Rams have agreed to a six-year deal worth as much as $135 million that includes $87 million in guarantees. Once signed, the deal would become the largest contract ever to be handed out to a defensive player. And if anyone deserves it, it’s Donald.
Back when they were in St. Louis, the Rams drafted Donald with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft (one pick later, the Bears selected Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller) and the Penn State product has produced at a star level since arriving.
Donald was named the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014 and Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. He has made four Pro Bowls and named a first-team All-Pro in each of the last three seasons. Statistically, Donald has snagged 39 sacks in four seasons, including two 11-sack campaigns in the last three years. Those are big sack numbers coming from the interior of the defensive line.
Now that Donald has a new deal, the focus turns to Khalil Mack and the Oakland Raiders, whose contract stand-off now takes center stage. Mack is next line for a mega contract and Donald’s deal provides a nice baseline for him to negotiate from as he and the Raiders look to move past their contract impasse. Perhaps Donald’s new contract will push Mack and the Raiders toward something that would get the ultra-talented pass-rusher into camp before he starts losing game checks.
Mack’s name has been making its way around the rumor mill lately. The Raiders haven’t ruled out trading Mack, whose name being on the trading block has garnered serious interest from teams wanting to deal for the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. HOWEVER, the Raiders are reportedly asking for at least two first-round picks as a return, which could insinuate that Oakland isn’t all that interested in trading Mack in the first place.