Yellow Star
Yellow Star

Aaron Donald’s $31.6M Salary an Outlier in QB-Focused NFL

The last 14 NFL MVPs and 10 Super Bowl MVPs have been quarterbacks. 

The Los Angeles Rams wouldn't have won Super Bowl LVI without defensive tackle Aaron Donald's late plays. On 3rd-and-1 with 48 seconds left

Donald stopped a Bengals running play at the line. Donald sprinted through his man on 4th-and-1 with 43 seconds left to wrap up Bengals QB Joe Burrow and force an inaccurate throw, sealing the Rams' 23-20 triumph.

Donald's annual compensation is now $31.6 million, making him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history.

Still, QBs rule. Donald ranks 12th in NFL salary, behind 11 quarterbacks, including Carson Wentz, who has made just one Pro Bowl. 

Donald is the only non-quarterback to earn more than $30 million annually, although more than a third of starting quarterbacks do.

A defensive player is the highest-paid non-QB, which is unexpected given the need for wide receivers. 

Kupp is one of the 10 highest-paid non-quarterbacks. Donald is the only player over 30 on that list.

The whole picture appears when looking at the top 50 highest-paid players. Wide receivers earn 13 of the league's top 50 salaries.

 More over half of the league's highest-paid players play these two positions. No running backs are selected.

The top 50 defensive players include 17 defensive lineman, linebackers, and defensive backs.

Donald gets $6.6 million more than the next highest-paid defensive lineman, which is more than any other position in football. DeForest Buckner gets $10.6 million less than Donald.

Donald has earned it by outperforming the competition. Since 2018, he has 59.0 sacks, surpassing Myles Garrett's 51.5. Chris Jones' 41.0 is nearly a season behind Donald's record-setting number.

He also saved the year's biggest game.