Aaron Donald announces retirement while discussing negotiations with the Rams

Aaron Donald announces retirement while discussing negotiations with the Rams

Aaron Donald wants a new contract.

The Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle has spent most of his career as arguably the best player in football. His current contract does not pay him as such. Armed with a Super Bowl ring and all the personal accolades an NFL defenseman can achieve, Donald says he’s okay to retire at 31 if he and the Rams don’t get along .

He started the chatter ahead of the Super Bowl and doubled Monday on the “I am Athlete” podcast alongside retired NFL players Brandon Marshall and Pacman Jones. According to a ProFootball Talk transcript, Donald repeated four times during his appearance that he was “at peace” with his NFL career. But it looks like he’s ready to keep playing as long as the money is good.

“It’s not about the money,” Donald told PFT before mentioning “business” multiple times. “But it’s a business at the end of the day. That’s what you have to see.

“For me, it’s about winning. I don’t want to play football if I can’t win anyway, so I feel like if I have a real opportunity to win another Super Bowl, so it makes sense to play. But again, it’s still a business. We have to manage the business side of things, and if it wasn’t to manage, you know, that’s what it is the type of situation I’ll be fine regardless.

So it seems to be about winning for Donald. And business. Which makes sense.

Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams celebrates after defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California.  The Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Everything else is gravy for Aaron Donald’s football career. He would naturally like to have more. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Where’s Donald’s contract status?

Donald has three years left on the six-year, $135 million deal he signed in 2018 and has since outperformed as the market has moved in his favor. He also has high leverage in that he could certainly afford to retire unscrupulously.

While that might be a bargaining tactic, the fact that he can call it quits with a Super Bowl ring, seven All-Pro nods, three Defensive Player of the Year trophies and a ticket. first round for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his pocket is compelling. His $97 million in career football earnings certainly help his case.

But he would certainly like to earn more, which in this case likely means topping the $28 million TJ Watt is expected to earn annually as football’s highest-paid defenseman. Competing for another Super Bowl would sweeten the deal.

But if that doesn’t happen, Donald will be fine. Just ask him.

“I don’t need to play football to be okay,” Donald continued. “I’m fine. I’ve been blessed to play this game, to earn the money that I’ve earned. The accomplishments that I’ve made in eight years are like – I’m complete. If I can earn any another is great. But otherwise, I’m at peace.

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