Aaron Donald on verge of being highest-paid defender?

As Tinsel Town's Showtime Rams dominate the NFL's offseason news cycle, inquiring minds want to know how the organization will squeeze Aaron Donald's impending mega contract into a salary cap suddenly saturated with star power.

General manager Les Snead assured reporters last week that a new deal for Donald has already been budgeted into the team's financial plans.

The Rams front office is under no illusion that the most valuable non-quarterback in the league will sign for anything less than top dollar.

Appearing on The MMQB Podcast with Peter King, Snead casually acknowledged that Donald is poised to supersede new teammate Ndamukong Suh as the game's highest-paid defender.

"The nice thing about Ndamukong," Snead offered, "at age 31 and somebody who's been the highest-paid defensive player in football, winning was very important in this phase of his career.

"He's well aware that when you can partner, be beside someone who is on the verge of being the highest-paid defensive player in football, then that's a really good thing. I guess you'd say two is better than one."

That makes sense. Over the past two years, Donald has surpassed a suddenly snakebit J.J. Watt as the dominant defensive force, featuring unparalleled speed off the snap.

The Rams have made it clear that Donald's contract extension is a top priority, with team sources assuring NFL Network's Steve Wyche that no player acquired this offseason will upset the budget already set aside for the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Here's where it gets tricky, though: Donald isn't the lone upper-echelon defensive star in search of a market-setting contract.

Whereas Donald spent last summer as a training-camp holdout in search of a pay day, it's fair to wonder if his representatives will switch gears this time around, waiting for Mack to set a market soon to be surpassed by his counterpart in Los Angeles.

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