Aaron Donald’s two-year quest to become the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player finally ended in success Friday morning.
And just a few minutes after signing his deal, Donald was at work on the Los Angeles Rams’ practice fields for the first time in months, determined to keep doing the same things that made him so very wealthy.
The All-Pro defensive tackle agreed to a six-year, $135 million deal, ending his second consecutive preseason holdout with a landmark commitment from the Rams.
“It’s a blessing,” Donald said of his new deal, which surpasses Von Miller’s contract in Denver as the new benchmark for defenders.
The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year is signed through 2024, and the Rams’ defense can rest solidly on its cornerstone as Los Angeles attempts to capitalize on last season’s success with a Super Bowl run.
ESPN and the NFL Network reported the new deal includes a $40 million signing bonus and $87 million guaranteed. Donald is already under contract this season for $6.89 million in the final year of his rookie deal.
McCown anoints Darnold
Josh McCown believes Sam Darnold is ready to be the Jets’ starting quarterback.
The 16-year veteran, who was the Jets’ starting QB last year, has been nothing but supportive of Darnold. McCown has been in the rookie’s ear, giving him advice and helping him throughout his first NFL training camp and preseason.
All the time together during OTAs and training camp, and seeing how Darnold has prepared, are why McCown believes the rookie is ready.
“I think (it’s) the work ethic we put in that room, the time and the diligence he’s had on a daily basis to commit himself to getting better,” McCown said following the Jets’ one-point loss to the Eagles in Thursday’s preseason finale.
“I know whatever the decision is made it will be made in the best interest of the team, and if either one of our numbers are called we’ll be ready to go. I have no doubt if it goes that way Sam will be ready.”
The only thing left is for Todd Bowles to officially name Darnold the starter for the Sept. 10 Monday night opener at Detroit.
Ramsey rips Amendola
Jacksonville Jaguars All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey took a shot at Miami Dolphins wide receiver Danny Amendola in an ESPN The Magazine interview.
“He just got a brand-new (two-year, $12 million) contract and he is terrible,” Ramsey told Mina Kimes in the NFL preview issue of ESPN The Magazine. “People think he’s so great. No, he’s not. Tom (Brady) made him look good. Tom could take me as a receiver and I’d be a first-team All-Pro.”
Amendola had a stellar performance in New England’s 24-20 win over the Jaguars in last year’s AFC Championship Game that propelled the Patriots to Super Bowl LII. Amendola caught seven passes for 84 yards, including two fourth-quarter touchdowns and a clutch fourth-quarter reception on third-and-18.
Former Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek has announced his retirement after 11 seasons in the NFL.
... The Houston Texans have released veteran punter Shane Lechler just before what would have been his 19th NFL season.