Cameron DaSilva | Rams Wire

Aaron Donald has spent the last eight years hunting down quarterbacks and making their lives incredibly difficult on a weekly basis. Now, he’ll finally make the same type of money they are.

The Rams rewarded Donald on Monday with a new three-year contract, ripping up the final three years of his previous deal. Rather than making $55 million over the next three seasons, Donald now has the chance to earn $95 million through 2024.

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That’s a $40 million raise, and he deserves every penny of it.

On his new contract, Donald will earn $31.6 million per year. That makes him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history, surpassing Tyreek Hill and his $30 million per year salary. He’s also the first defender ever to eclipse $30 million per year, edging out T.J. Watt ($28 million).

What’s amazing is that Donald still isn’t one of the 10 highest-paid players in the NFL. On this new deal, he still doesn’t crack the top 10. Jared Goff, coincidentally, is 10th in the NFL in annual salary at $33.5 million per year, which is from the contract the Rams gave him in 2019. Even Carson Wentz, who’s 11th in annual salary, makes more than Donald; Wentz makes $32 million per year.

That means Donald is the 12th-highest-paid player in the league, which is respectable but still doesn’t do him justice for the dominant player that he is.

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With all that he’s accomplished in the NFL, and it’s a long list, Donald deserved to be paid what many of the top quarterbacks are getting. He didn’t quite reach Matthew Stafford and Dak Prescott’s contracts, which pay them $40 million per year, but he’s earning top-end quarterback money now.

He’s within striking distance of Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins at $35 million per year. Previously, Donald was only making $22.5 million per year, which was 27th in the NFL. There were truly no quarterbacks in that range, with Jimmy Garoppolo being the closest at $27.5 million per year.

It’s also important to note the figures beyond just his annual salary. Donald gets $65 million guaranteed in the next two years, and he can increase that total to $95 million by returning for his 11th season in 2024; he’ll earn $30 million if so.

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