For a minute there, it appeared as if we might have seen the last of Aaron Donald. Leading up to Super Bowl LVI, an NBC Sports report suggested if the Los Angeles Rams were to beat the Cincinnati Bengals and claim the Lombardi Trophy — which they did — that Donald may consider retiring. In the immediate aftermath of that Super Bowl win, Donald himself deflected questions about his future, but now, after hinting he’s ready to “run it back” for the 2022 season, the star defensive lineman is confirmed to be returning, as coach Sean McVay told reporters at the annual league meetings Tuesday.At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Rams general manager Les Snead previously indicated that the team has had discussions with Donald’s representation about his contract. He also said that the two sides are in a good place this offseason.”I never say anything with certainty (but) that’s not a concern right now,” said Snead, via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic. Aaron Donald LAR • DE • 99 View Profile Donald is currently signed through the 2024 season after he inked a record six-year, $135 million extension back in 2019 that included nearly $87 million guaranteed. Despite that, Donald is still just the 23rd highest-paid player in the NFL when it comes to average annual salary for 2022. Four defensive players — T.J. Watt, Joey Bosa, Myles Garrett, and Khalil Mack — are above him in AAV as things are currently constituted. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year has a base salary of $9.25 million for the 2022 season, which includes a $26.75 million cap hit. If the two sides were to reach an extension, they could work to bring that cap number down thus creating more space for the organization as they try and build another Super Bowl-caliber roster as they look to go back-to-back. The 30-year-old — who joined the Rams as a first-round pick back in 2014 — totaled 12.5 sacks in 2021 to go along with a career-high 84 tackles. During L.A.’s Super Bowl run, Donald — who arguably could have been Super Bowl MVP — totaled 3.5 sacks and 13 tackles through four playoff games.