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How should the Rams optimize the “Aaron Donald window”?

LA’s franchise only has a finite time left with Aaron Donald

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to kickoff of Super Bowl LVI, Rodney Harrison broke news that Aaron Donald was considering retiring if the Los Angeles Rams won Super Bowl LVI. The news paralleled the intensity of the game itself. Los Angeles won, in large part because of the greatness of Aaron Donald’s ability. The GOAT had finally won a Super Bowl and his future in the league was pending…

Even into the offseason, Aaron Donald’s future in the league remained bleak, until he signed a record-breaking three-year $95 million contract for an interior defensive lineman. Les Snead and Sean McVay had worked their magic to keep their franchise star.

Returning the most essential piece for another shot at a Lombardi was imperative, but other pieces are needed. LA is six games into the Aaron Donald contract, and based on the deal, they are only guaranteed a minimum of 45 games with him. Do the Rams have enough on the roster in 2022 to repeat? What areas on the Rams roster do they need to pivot in order to give themselves the best chance at hoisting another Lombardi before Aaron Donald walks away?


Los Angeles has $4.8 million in cap space over the remainder of the 2022 season.

The roster has been decimated by injuries, particularly the offensive line.

The Rams are without 2023 first-round, fourth-round, and fifth-round picks.

The Rams pass rush has only produced 12 sacks through six games. The Rams averaged 2.94 sacks/game in 2021. A full sack more. For perspective, the Rams defense values inflicting negative yardage plays on opposing offenses. Sacks are the most common way to do so, with the league being a passing league.


Upgrading the roster via trade before the deadline is the main transaction method to help fortify the roster. There are a number of players whose names have been floated in discussions: Bradley Chubb (DEN), Brandin Cooks (HOU), Kareem Hunt (CLE), and Da’Ron Payne (WAS). Blockbuster names such as Brian Burns have been mentioned, but Carolina has shown no indication in trading their pass rusher.

Selling current assets for draft compensation is the other alternative. Cam Akers tenure in Los Angeles appears to be nearing an end, barring a change in McVay and Akers differences. While Akers won’t fetch significant draft capital, the Rams are hopeful to gain a late round pick, perhaps a pick that is conditional on Akers 2022 performance.

An Odell Beckham Jr reunion. This option isn’t a complete roster fix, but it is a move that sparks excitement throughout the locker room.

2023 AND 2024 CHANGES

As tough as it is to predict the roster outlook one and two years from now, but as General Manager, Les Snead is currently operating with one hand in the present and one hand in the future. What changes should he be considering?

Releasing or trading assets that may not have as much value with LA as before. Those names include Joe Noteboom (LT) and Leonard Floyd (EDGE). A post-June 1 release/trade of Noteboom would save $8.5 million/$13.5 million. Moving on from Floyd after June 1 would save $15.5 million.


The Rams trade Cam Akers for a conditional late round pick (sixth rounder that can become a fifth rounder).

Los Angeles signs Odell Beckham Jr to a three-year deal.

LA trades a 2023 third-round pick, a 2023 sixth-round pick, and a 2024 fourth-round pick for Kareem Hunt and Jack Conklin.

The Rams release Leonard Floyd with a post-June 1 designation, saving $15.5 million in cap space for the 2023 season.

In June, the Rams trade Joseph Noteboom and a 2024 third round pick to the Washington Commanders for Montez Sweat.