People are once again speculating if Aaron Donald will retire before next season after his appearance on a recent episode of the “I Am Athlete” podcast. A single statement from that podcast has gotten a lot of attention: Donald is “at peace” with all he’s done in the NFL, meaning that he doesn’t need to prove anything else and that it’s on to the Rams to make him at peace with his deal.
In the interview, Donald stated that he believes there should be a smaller pay difference between top defensive players and quarterbacks, which is currently established at roughly $28 million for a defensive player and $50 million APY for a signal caller. Donald did not suggest he should be paid the same as quarterbacks, but he did state that there should be a $22 million gap between T.J. Watt and Aaron Rodgers.
Donald’s APY is $22.5 million under his current contract, but he has a $26.75 million cap hit in 2022. His base compensation, however, only contributes for $9.25 million of the total. Donald’s base pay will increase to $14 million next season.
Donald did remark that he was “at peace” with everything, from not needing the money to finally winning a Super Bowl, but then he made other comments that contradicted his declarations of contentment with his career. Donald does not appear to be happy with his current contract, and he has already stated that he had held out twice for more money from the Rams organisation before joining the team, with indicators pointing to a third holdout in 2022 after winning his first Super Bowl.
He claims that he doesn’t need more money to be satisfied with his NFL career, while also insinuating, if not outright stating, that he won’t play again until the Rams give him a raise or a bonus.
Even though Donald claimed that the last thing he needed was a Super Bowl triumph, which he earned this year as the greatest player on a highly talented team, he kept talking about how fantastic it felt to win it all, and how he now knows why Tom Brady refuses to leave the game.
Aaron Donald, who is obsessed with being the best football player in the league, is clearly not pleased with only one Super Bowl title.
The fact that the Los Angeles Rams have a better-than-average probability of repeating as Super Bowl champions is the main reason Donald will not retire this year.
I say “better than average” because, contrary to popular belief, reigning winners do not always have an advantage in winning the Super Bowl. In fact, we haven’t had a repeat Super Bowl winner in nearly 20 years. If we just looked at the last 17 Super Bowls, we’d conclude the chances of a recurrence are nearly none.
However, the Rams appear to have a better chance of winning the NFC this season than they had last year. Russell Wilson is in the AFC; Deebo Samuel is on the sidelines while the 49ers decide whether Trey Lance is a viable starter for 2022; Kyler Murray is on the sidelines; and DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for the first six games of the season.
The Rams play in a tough division, with three teams winning ten games last season, but they may have gained ground on the 49ers, Cardinals, and Seahawks.
Meanwhile, the NFC South appears to be destined for Brady, as Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, and Sam Darnold are the division’s other quarterbacks, while Sean Payton and Bruce Arians have both stepped down as head coaches.
Davante Adams left the NFC North for the AFC West. No other club in the North was above.500, and Kirk Cousins is still the division’s second-best quarterback.
The Eagles, Commanders, and Giants have all kept their quarterbacks from last season, leaving the Cowboys in a position to try to avoid blowing it for the 27th consecutive year.
The Rams, on the other hand, may have improved this summer. Despite the fact that Von Miller was transferred to the Bills, Robert Woods was traded to the Titans, and Odell Beckham was still unsigned, the Los Angeles Rams signed Bobby Wagner and Allen Robinson.
Aaron Donald worked to bring Wagner to the Rams, as discussed on the episode. Did he really spend all that time lobbying for Wagner to come back and help LA “run it back” just so he could retire? That is incomprehensible.
Donald stated that he would not play for the Rams, or any other team, unless he believed they were capable of winning a championship. Nobody can predict who will even enter the playoffs, much less who will win the Super Bowl, but we’re all permitted to pass judgement on the situation.
And the position for the Los Angeles Rams could not be more favourable right now. So, based on what I heard on “I Am Athlete,” Donald appears to be ready to play for many more years. “This is a business,” he stated, so he just wants to act like he isn’t.