Aaron Donald ends holdout with record deal from LA Rams
LOS ANGELES (AP) — All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald agreed to a massive new contract with the Los Angeles Rams today, ending his second consecutive preseason holdout as the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.
The Rams announced a new six-year deal through 2024 for Donald, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
ESPN and the NFL Network reported the new deal is worth $135 million over six years, with a $40 million signing bonus and $87 million guaranteed. Donald is already under contract this season for $6.89 million in the final year of his rookie deal.
Donald was chosen for the Pro Bowl after each of his four NFL seasons. The 27-year-old Pitt product is the centerpiece of the Rams' defense and one of the NFL's most dominant linemen, demonstrating remarkable effectiveness against the run and the pass.
Donald was a key component of Los Angeles' extraordinary one-year turnaround under rookie coach Sean McVay in 2017. With Donald leading their defensive efforts under veteran coordinator Wade Phillips, the Rams won their division for the first time since 2003 and ended the franchise's streaks of 13 consecutive nonwinning seasons and 12 straight non-playoff seasons.
But Donald also took a hard line in negotiating his football future. He skipped the past two training camps and preseasons while seeking a new contract, and he also skipped the Rams' entire off-season program this year.
He didn't report last year until the day before the regular season opener, forcing him to miss the Rams' first game. He still earned recognition as the NFL's top defensive player despite playing in only 14 games, racking up 11 sacks and 41 tackles while forcing five fumbles for the NFC West champions. He also led the NFL with 91 quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.