“They Didn’t Believe In Us, Aaron Donald Did” | Rams Defensive Star Signs New Megadeal Just Days After Signing With Donda Sports

(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Last week Los Angeles Rams star defensive lineman Aaron Donald announced he was signing with Donda Sports, the new sports management company run by music and fashion mogul Kanye West.

At the time of Donald’s announcement that he was signing with Ye, his contract status with the defending Super Bowl champion Rams was up in the air. Donald even said he didn’t need football to be happy and he was comfortable retiring.

What a difference a week makes. The Rams obviously got wind of the seven-time first team All-Pro and three-time Defensive Player of the Year’s interview and decided to cough up the bag because they aren’t the same level of contender without him. 

Donda Sports made a tweet leading up to the announcement. 

 

On Monday, the Rams and AD99 agreed to a new contract worth $95 million over three years. With $65 million guaranteed over the next two seasons, Donald becomes the highest-paid non-QB in NFL history. The dominant interior lineman supplants Steelers edge rusher and reigning DPOY, TJ Watt ($28 million per) as the top-paid defensive player.

 

Was Donald Serious About Retirement? The Rams Must’ve Believed So

Donald reiterated all offseason that he was comfortable walking away after finally winning that Super Bowl, and while no one truly knows about if he was calling the Rams’ bluff, the franchise wasn’t take any chances. 

During his recent appearance on the “I Am Athlete” podcast, Donald said it wasn’t about money. But money definitely played a role. He got his money. Now he’s back.

“It ain’t about the money, it’s a business at the end of the day. That’s what you’ve got 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 he got a real opportunity to win another Super Bowl, then it makes sense to play. But again, it’s still a business. We’ve got to handle the business side of things, and it that wasn’t to get handled then, you know, it is what it is type of situation. I’ll be fine regardless.”

Donald elaborated further, saying, “But me talking about retirement, that was happening way before we won a Super Bowl. I’ve been saying that since I got into the league that I was gonna play eight years and be done. That’s just what I’ve been saying. It just came out and then everybody thinking that, ‘Oh, he said if he wins a Super Bowl he’s going to retire.’ Nah I got teammates, coaches and my family who know about this. I said I’m going to play eight years and be done playing football.”

 

Donald Can Still Retire In Two Years Or Change Teams

The flexibility in Donald’s upgraded deal still allows him to retire after two seasons, or move on to another team. In the meantime, the Rams will be the NFC favorites with him back to anchor their defense and QB Matthew Stafford back to lead the offense. Sean McVay has plenty of weaponry to “Run It Back,” as Donald has been yelling since the euphoria he felt at SoFi Stadium in February.

He talked about that on the podcast as well.

“Winning a Super Bowl, you get kind of a little addicted to it. I ain’t going to lie. I want to feel that again. The experience is like no other. If I was to play, it’s to just win another Super Bowl, but at the end of the day, it’s still a business, and it got to make sense for me and my family.”

Donald also mentioned that he now sees what drives 44-year-old seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady.

“Now I see why Tom Brady can play this game for so long, because this guy won seven of these.”

Winning one Super Bowl is not enough for some elite players, and the opportunity to go back to back for the first time since the 2003-04 New England Patriots, plus the lure of a record-breaking bag, was too much for Donald to pass up on.