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NFL

How much is Aaron Donald’s contract with the Rams worth?

Not only is he not retiring, but Aaron Donald just became the highest-paid non-quarterback in the history of the NFL, surpassing Tyreek Hill on the list.

Jennifer Bubel
Update:

The Los Angeles Rams chose Aaron Donald 13th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, and I can safely assume they have never regretted that decision. In fact, it would seem they’re willing to do (spend) a lot to keep him there as long as possible. The defensive tackle won 2014 Defensive Rookie of the Year, is a seven-time All Pro, eight-time Pro Bowler, three-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and member of the Hall of Fame All-2010s team. In 2021, he had 84 tackles, 12.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and four passes defended in all 17 games. Not only is he good, but he’s also durable. He’s missed just two games since his start with the Rams in 2014. When the Rams won the 2021 Super Bowl, Donald became the face of the franchise.

Just how much money is a player like that worth? The new contract Donald signed with the Rams on Monday will pay him $95 million through 2024. That’s $31.6 million a year. That makes Donald the highest paid non-quarterback in the history of the NFL. He surpassed Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who earns $30 million a year. He also became the first defender to ever make more than $30 million a year, stepping above Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt, who earns $28 million.

Interestingly, Donald still doesn’t rank in the top 10 highest-paid NFL players. He sits at number 12, behind players like Jared Goff and Carson Wentz, who have not made nearly the impact Donald has in the NFL. Goff is making an annual $33.5 million from the contract the Rams gave him in 2019. Wentz makes $32 million a year. Donald also sits behind Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins, who make $35 million a year and Rams own quarterback Matt Stafford, who is paid an annual $40 million.

Donald gets $63 million guaranteed at signing, $65 million guaranteed over the next two years, and could increase that to $95 million if he returns for an 11th season in 2024. Considering the impact Donald has had on the Rams team and everything he’s done for them, it’s hard to argue against paying him this amount of money, which is up there amongst the highest-earning NFL quarterbacks.

Here’s the list of the top 12 highest-paid NFL players broken down:

12 - Aaron Donald (DL), LA Rams, $31.6 million

11 - Carson Wentz (QB), Washington Commanders, $32 million

10 - Jared Goff (QB) , Detroitt Lions, $33.5 million

9 - Kirk Cousins (QB), Minnesota Vikings, $35 million

8 - Russell Wilson (QB), Denver Broncos, $35 million

7 - Dak Prescott (QB), Dallas Cowboys, $40 million

6 - Matthew Stafford (QB), LA Rams, $40 milllion

5 - Derek Carr (QB), Las Vegas Raiders, $40.474 million

4 - Josh Allen (QB) Buffalo Bills, $43 million

3 - Patrick Mahommes (QB), Kansas City Chiefs, $45 million

2 - Deshaun Watson (QB), Cleveland Browns, $46 million

1 - Aaron Rodgers (QB), Green Bay Packers, $50.272

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