Shortly after the Los Angeles Rams hoisted the Lombardi Trophy following their win in Super Bowl LVI, the retirement rumors surrounding defensive tackle Aaron Donald started. With a Super Bowl ring to his name, there was seemingly not much left for the superstar to accomplish.
Despite that, though, he ran it back for the 2022 season. Appearing in just 11 games, he still put together a solid season. However, after the Rams went 5-12 in their championship defense, the retirement rumors popped up again.
"Trading Donald would be the toughest move of general manager Les Snead’s career. One could argue it would also be a smart one," Sports Illustrated wrote. "Donald, 32, is entering the twilight of his career."
He currently has two years left on his deal with the Rams, including cap hits of $26 million and $34.1 million before a void year in 2025. Meanwhile, Los Angeles is short on talent and long on needs."
In a vacuum trading Donald would undoubtedly draw a wave of criticisms Snead's way, from fans and analysts alike. After all, it isn't often that you have arguably the best defender ever on your roster. When you do, you keep him.
That being said, the Super Bowl window may very well have slammed shut already for the Rams. If that is the case then they could get a haul for Donald and properly start the rebuild process.
"If the Rams trade Donald post–June 1, they save $35.1 million over the upcoming two seasons while also netting much-needed draft capital," Sports Illustrated wrote.
"On that front, the picks should be excellent considering Donald is the best defensive player of his era, and would cost the acquiring team only $13.5 million and $10 million, respectively."
When the 2023 season officially kicks off this fall, Donald more than likely will don the blue and gold once again. However, if Snead and the Rams received an offer that was too good to refuse, he might just play elsewhere for the first time in his storied career.
You can find Connor Zimmerlee on Twitter @Connorjz98
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