AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
The Los Angeles Rams are working to get a new deal done with their best player after finalizing a contract with their quarterback.
Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Rams have made progress on a contract extension with Aaron Donald.
The reigning Super Bowl champions announced Saturday afternoon that they signed Matthew Stafford to a new deal.
There was speculation shortly before the start of Super Bowl LVI that Donald was considering retirement.
NBC Sports analyst Rodney Harrison said Donald told him “there’s a strong possibility that he could walk away from the game and retire” if the Rams won a championship.
After Los Angeles’ 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, Donald was coy when asked about his future in the NFL.
“I’m just in the moment right now,” he said on the podium after the game. “I’m enjoying this with my family. I promised my daughter this when she was five years old, to play in the confetti … so I’m just in the moment right now. I’m going to enjoy this with my teammates, my family and I’m just going to be in the moment and enjoy this today, for a couple days, how about that? It’s a blessing.”
Despite the teases of retirement, the Rams have remained engaged with the three-time Defensive Player of the Year on a new contract.
Fowler previously noted that Donald could be seeking a deal that would make him the league’s highest-paid defensive player to return in 2022. His current contract ranks sixth among all defensive players in average annual value ($22.5 million), per Spotrac.
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt is currently the highest-paid defender by average annual salary ($28,002,750).
Donald is entering the fourth season of a six-year, $135 million extension he signed in August 2018.
The 30-year-old has been the most dominant defensive player in the NFL since he was drafted in 2014. He has never finished lower than fourth in Defensive Player of the Year voting in eight seasons.
Donald led the Rams in quarterback hits (25), tackles for loss (19), sacks (12.5) and forced fumbles (four) in 2021. He recorded nine quarterback hits and 3.5 sacks during the playoffs to help the Rams win their first Super Bowl title since 1999.