The Los Angeles Rams will have their best player back in time for Week 1. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald agreed to terms with the team on a six-year contract extension that could be worth up to $135 million. He will receive a $40 million signing bonus, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport, and $87 million in total guarantees. The deal is added on to his current deal, which is his fifth year option. It becomes effectively a seven-year deal worth over $141 million.
Donald held out of training camp and the preseason looking to get a new deal. The reigning defensive player of the year was schedule to play 2018 on his fifth year option, and could have found himself playing under the franchise tag in 2019 and 2020. Instead, the two sides were able to work something out, and Donald is settled in for the foreseeable future.
Todd Gurley is an important piece to that team, but I see Donald as a more valuable piece for that defense. The Rams will not have Donald and Ndamukong Suh anchoring the interior of Wade Phillips’ defense. The additions of Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters in the secondary means this is going to be a formidable unit in 2018. The 49ers don’t play the Rams until Week 7, on Sunday Night Football, at which point Donald should have unloaded any preseason rust.
And on a slightly related note, Khalil Mack must be pretty happy.