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Aaron Donald is still a viable trade candidate, says SI writer

Could Aaron Donald still switch teams this offseason? Sports Illustrated thinks so.

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Over the past year, there have been a lot of questions when it comes to the future of Aaron Donald. Following the Super Bowl win, there was some speculation that he could retire. After general manager Les Snead purged the Los Angeles Rams roster of talent this offseason, some wondered if Aaron Donald might be next.

Sports Illustrated put out a list on Thursday of 10 veterans who could still switch teams this offseason. Donald was one of the 10 players on the list. Here’s what SI NFL staff writer Matt Verderame had to say:

“Trading Donald would be the toughest move of general manager Les Snead’s career. One could argue it would also be a smart one. 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. 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. 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.”

If the Rams were going to fully embrace the rebuild, they likely would have done so by now. It doesn’t make sense at this point in the offseason to make a move of this caliber, especially with Donald seeming content with how things are going. That might be different if Donald was having contract issues and was holding out of OTAs and training camp. However, that’s not the case.

It’s pretty clear what Les Snead and the Rams are doing. While they may not compete for a Lombardi Trophy in 2023, trading Jalen Ramsey and cutting Leonard Floyd opened up cap space for 2024. Heading into next offseason, Snead will have a first round pick and cap space to bring in talented players. Donald remains one of the three pillars that the team is building around going forward along with Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp.

At any point if that plan changes and it doesn’t look like the Rams are going to be able to compete over the next two or three years, then Snead and co. may do right by Donald and trade him to a contender. However, as it stands, Los Angeles is looking to be back in the driver’s seat in 2024 and 2025.

June and July can sometimes be “silly season” when it comes to NFL media. With not a lot happening, stories can be created to fill content. Never count anything out when it comes Snead, but trading Donald would be an outlandish move even by his standards.