Rams

Les Snead: Aaron Donald is ‘on the verge’ of becoming highest-paid defender

Amidst all the moves the Los Angeles Rams have made this offseason, none of them have involved their best overall player. Aaron Donald, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, has yet to be paid by the Rams, who are taking their time with regards to his contract situation.

As it stands, he’ll be paid $6.9 million in 2018 on the fifth-year option. That’s less than Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib and Brandin Cooks will earn next season, all of whom were added by the Rams this offseason.

Whether that frustrates Donald or not is relatively unknown, but it certainly can’t make him all that happy to see Suh making more than double his salary in 2018.

But fear not, Rams fans: Donald will get his money. Les Snead casually said on Peter King’s MMQB Podcast last week that Donald is on the cusp of becoming the NFL’s top-paid defender.

“The nice thing about Ndamukong, at age 31 and somebody who’s been the highest-paid defensive player in football, winning was very important in this phase of his career. And also what was very important, he’s well aware that when you can partner – be beside someone – who is on the verge of being the highest-paid defensive player in football, then that’s a really good thing. I guess you’d say two is better than one.”

Snead has said consistently that the Rams have budgeted for Donald’s extension while making all these blockbuster trades and signings. The team plans to sign him to a long-term deal – likely making him the highest-paid defender in football – but it remains to be seen when that’ll happen.

The Rams supposedly have a timeline for this situation, but does that involve waiting until March when his contract expires? As of now, the Rams are right up against the cap, so unless they’re signing Donald to an extension that keeps his cap hit low in 2018, it’ll be difficult to make it work this offseason.

Of course, restructures, releases and trades can always help, too, but the Rams have doled out a lot of money the past few months, none of which went to Donald. Hopefully their flurry of moves hasn’t influenced the All-Pros feelings about the organization too much, leaving a sour taste in his mouth.

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