The Los Angeles Rams have exercised their fifth-year option on two-time First-Team All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the team announced Wednesday.
The decision comes as no surprise, as it allows Los Angeles’ front office the ability to lock Donald up through the 2018 season, while also giving general manager Les Snead time to hammer out a long-term extension.
The Rams No. 13 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft has been nothing short of sensational since entering the league, and has already amassed 163 tackles, 35 tackles for a loss, 28 sacks, and four forced fumbles in his first three seasons.
Donald becomes the first in a long line of players from the 2014 NFL Draft to have his fifth-year option exercised prior to the May 3 deadline. The Carolina Panthers have already announced that they plan to pick up the fifth-year option on wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, and the Cowboys are also expected to do the same with three-time Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin.
Snead made it clear at the NFL Scouting Combine that Donald is in the franchise’s long-term plans.
“It’s definitely coming. The guy deserves a raise, there’s no doubt,” Snead said, via the Rams’ team website. “Whether he gets a raise or not, he’s going to show up, do the things he does. But that’s coming.”
Donald’s fifth-year option is worth $6.892 million and becomes fully guaranteed on the first day of the 2018 league year, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
The Rams will surely look to work out a long-term extension prior to then, but are expecting big things from three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman, particularly in his first year under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
The 6-foot-1, 285-pound defensive lineman has already proven himself an elite player at the next level, and was named Pro Football Focus’ Defensive Player of the Year in 2016.