The Los Angeles Rams finally gave Aaron Donald his long-awaited deal. The extension locks Donald in for six years, and is worth $135 million, making him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history.
The Rams will now boast a defensive line that consists of Donald, Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers. I’d hate to play offensive line or quarterback in the NFC West, so best of luck to the other three teams.
What does the deal mean for the Rams? Well, it puts the icing on the cake that Sean McVay has turned the Rams from a 4-12 team, to a true Super Bowl contender in just two years. It also goes to show how inept Jeff Fisher was at building a complete roster.
Fisher was terrible enough to make us believe Todd Gurley wasn’t good, they didn’t have their guy at quarterback in Jared Goff, and that they didn’t have a playoff roster assembled. After a long drought, McVay proved that wrong by taking the Rams to the playoffs last year, in his first season.
This is McVay’s first full offseason as head coach of the Rams. It’ll be interesting to see how the Rams build on a successful season in their first year under the new regime. McVay knew he had to start shaping the roster as he saw fit this off-season.
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There was some work to do to truly make this roster well-rounded and ready to take that next step. To truly take a glimpse into the amount of moves the Rams made, let’s recap all of the key moves they manufactured.
The Rams have had a very busy offseason, making moves like the league was their personal game of Madden. They began the offseason by trading for Marcus Peters from the Kansas Chiefs. Soon after, Aqib Talib followed Peters from the AFC West, to the NFC West. Talib felt comfortable with the move from the beginning, as he’s played under Wade Phillips before in Denver.
The Rams weren’t done yet though. Sammy Watkins was expected to walk in free agency, so the Rams wasted no time in finding his replacement. Trading for Brandin Cooks was their solution to replacing Watkins, adding a dynamic weapon to an already loaded offense. Later on, they added Suh and Sam Shields in free agency. McVay was starting to make the roster how he liked it and made it his own.
Then, the Rams started extending a lot of their key players. Nickell Robey-Coleman signed a three-year, $15.7 million extension. Los Angeles then extended Cooks (five years, $81 million) and Gurley (four years, $60 million) on offense.
Rob Havenstein was next on the list, signing for four years and $32.5 million. This was all getting done while their main focus was to extend one of the best players in the NFL in Donald.
Rams fans went through a roller-coaster of emotions this offseason, hoping a deal would get done. Just yesterday, Donald signed off on a deal that would make him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history (for now) at six years, $135 million.
Donald definitely deserves every penny of that and some. Under Fisher, who knows if this deal gets done. This deal capped off an offseason for the Rams that put a stamp on their label as true contenders for years to come.
It’s crazy to think how quickly the Rams have turned things around. From 2003-16, they failed to post a record above .500 and failed to reach playoffs in any of those seasons. The Rams have also gone through six different head coaches since 2003, trying to find someone to lead them to the promised land.
It hasn’t happened since Dick Vermeil in 1999 when the Rams won the Super Bowl. This was when the Rams were located in St. Louis and boasted one of the best offenses in NFL History, called the Greatest Show on Turf.
The last decade or so, the Rams struggled mightily to make everything go according to plan, frustrating Rams fans around the globe. If Fisher were still head coach would they have been able to put together the elite roster they have now? Absolutely not.
The move to Los Angeles could’ve blown up in the Rams face had Fisher still been calling the shots. With McVay, it seems the move to the “City of Angels” will go as smoothly as one could hope.
Fast forward to today, the Rams are seemingly building a well-oiled machine that will last for years to come. McVay was the youngest head coach ever hired in NFL History last year, fitting right in with a young, hungry roster that’s ready to accomplish one goal: win a Super Bowl.
Now with McVay at the helm and Les Snead pulling the strings, Rams fans patience will payoff as the Rams are here to stay for many years into the future. Buckle up Los Angeles fans, it’s going to be an exhilarating season from start to finish after this Donald signing.