What if…? LA Rams Aaron Donald does indeed make good on threats to retire?

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
4 of 8
LA Rams rumors Ndamukong Suh
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Finally, let’s start making a shopping list

But there is another side to all of this. The LA Rams have learned through the recent experiences with veteran outside linebacker Von Miller that sometimes great dialogue, superb focus from the front office, and giving a player all the time in the world to work through issues, and concerns, and come back to re-sign with the team does not always happen.

If Aaron Donald does, in fact, swallow the poison pill, that will create a bit of a salary cap challenge for the LA Rams. Per Spotrac.com, the retirement option for Aaron Donald will hit the LA Rams with a $17,500,000 salary cap hit in 2022. That is due to the fact that it was the unrealized residual of his original signing bonus of the past.  The cost today is significant, but ultimately frees up nearly $10 million. But we are talking Aaron Donald after all, so cap ‘savings’ are meaningless.

And so, whether you agree with the principle or not, if the Rams face an unexpected huge void in the defensive line, the team will need to address it quickly with a veteran.

Free-agent DL option V:

. . Ndamukong Suh. 5. player. 48.

We’d talked about the deja vu of Aaron Donald holding out in the past, and how the LA Rams front office turned everything around by signing defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh to the roster. As recent events would have it, Suh is unlikely to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While some argue that he has ‘lost a step,’ his statistics do not show that at all. In fact, he continues to play 60 percent of the defensive snaps, continues to generate significant quarterback pressure as a down lineman, and continues to play the run very well.

Nobody is going to ‘replace’ any void created if Donald steps away from the game of football. But a player like Suh, a veteran of 12 NFL seasons, has the seasoned background to give these LA Rams a solid player for the rotation.

The Rams are not bereft of talent. In fact, the defensive line is at its strongest point in quite some time (assuming that AD returns). Suh is a versatile veteran presence who can help the Rams, without the need to ‘do it all.’ And the fact that he knows the Rams and the Rams know him (albeit QB Matthew Stafford may not be ecstatic about the addition) could make the acquisition of Suh in 2022 as solid of a move as getting him aboard was in 2018.