The Los Angeles Rams struck gold in the 2014 NFL Draft when they took Aaron Donald with the 13th overall pick. Despite his dominance at the University of Pittsburgh, teams made the mistake of passing up on what they presumed to be an “undersized” defensive tackle.
Now, Donald has already established himself as one of the league’s premier defensive players and it comes as no surprise that the Rams have exercised their fifth-year option on him, according to Field Yates of ESPN:
Source: the Rams have exercised the 2018 5th-year option worth $6.892M on DT Aaron Donald. First team to officially exercise its option.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 12, 2017
Donald’s lightning-quick first step and Herculean power have made him a nightmare for offensive lineman throughout the league. He has already registered 28 sacks, 116 tackles and made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three years in the league. Not to mention he has managed to break every kind of scoring measure Pro Football Focus has to offer.
Los Angeles has now guaranteed themselves of Donald’s services for another two years and a lucrative contract extension is likely now in the works. His salary for the 2017 NFL season hovers just around $6.9 million which continues to make him one of the biggest steals in his draft. However, his price tag will get much heavier with the market trending upward for menacing pass-rushers.
The Denver Broncos made Von Miller the highest-paid defensive player in the league last season with a six-year, $114 million contract — that will certainly set the standard for what Donald will be looking for. It should be a no-brainer for the Rams, but in order to do so, they will need to tread carefully in brokering deals for other key players in the years to come.