Aaron Donald, Rams agree to record contract restructure

Aaron Donald is getting paid like a quarterback.

The Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle agreed to a reworked contract Monday that is expected to pay him an average salary of more than $31.6 million per season through 2024, according to a league source. The deal marks the first time in NFL history that a defensive player has broken the $30 million plateau for average salary.

Donald’s reworked deal has a total value of $95 million, which is $40 million more than he was previously scheduled to make. It also includes $65 million in guaranteed money, which outpaces the $63 million the Rams gave quarterback Matt Stafford earlier this offseason. Donald’s guarantees will be paid out in 2022 and 2023. The makes Donald the highest paid non-quarterback in the NFL and puts him 12th overall in the league in average salary.

Donald sought a reworked contract since the Rams won the Super Bowl in February. He entered the summer with his $22.5 million average salary ranked sixth among defensive players. He also had three years remaining on his deal.

The NFL’s salary landscape changed significantly after Donald signed his last extension in 2018, with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers breaching the $50 million average and wide receiver pay exploding.

That put pressure on the Rams to adjust Donald’s deal, following an eight-year start in the league that has seen him make the Pro Bowl every season along with seven All-Pro teams, and be named Defensive Player of the Year three times.

Following the Super Bowl win, Donald said he would be comfortable with his career ending this offseason, which was essentially a subtle threat to retire if a new deal couldn’t be reached.

Star Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is now getting paid quarterback money. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


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