Aaron Donald isn't retiring, and he's returning to a bank vault worth of cash.
The Los Angeles Rams restructured Donald's contract to make him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday, per a source. The team has since announced the news.
No new years were added to Donald's contract, which now guarantees him $65 million over the next two seasons and $95 million through the 2024 season, Rapoport added. In all, Donald nets a $40 million raise over his previous contract, which carried a base salary of just $9.25 million into the 2022 season.
"I'm locked back in to go get us another ring -- why not!?" Donald said upon signing his new contract. "Getting the chills thinking about it. Let's go to work."
The future first-ballot Hall of Famer had flirted with the idea of walking away from the game after winning Super Bowl LVI. He'd even gone on record as saying he'd return if the Rams brought back key players like Von Miller and Odell Beckham, but Miller signed with Buffalo and Beckham remains unsigned.
In the end, that didn't matter as much as the money. Donald reset the market atop which he already sat, going from a league-leading $22.5 million per year to $31.6 million per year on average. The new average compensation is $10 million more per year than the next closest interior defensive lineman (the Giants' Leonard Williams).
The money is, as we all know, well worth it. Donald is a seven-time All-Pro and eight-time Pro Bowler, a member of the Hall of Fame's All-2010s team, a three-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was the 2014 Defensive Rookie of the Year. Donald has existed as the embodiment of excellence for the majority of his career, proving the Rams correct in spending the 13th-overall pick on him in the 2014 draft.
With the goal of running it back in 2022, the Rams can feel more confident about their chances with Donald back in the fold. General manager Les Snead has crossed off another important item on his to-do list.