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As the NFL’s all-time leading sack getter, Bruce Smith knows a thing or two about getting to the quarterback.
He also knows an elite player when he sees one — one that deserves to be paid and then some. Enter the Rams’ Aaron Donald, who had his contract re-worked and is set to make $95 million over the next three seasons. Donald is now the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history, which Smith says, isn’t even enough.
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“Aaron Donald deserves that and more,” Smith said, via TMZ Sports. “He’s worth every penny he’s being paid.”
Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time after racking up 200.0 sacks during his 19-year career, Smith said that Donald should already be in the conversation as the greatest defensive player of all-time after just eight seasons.
Donald, 31, has logged 98.0 sacks, 23 forced fumbles, 226 quarterback hits and has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of his eight seasons. Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor (10) and Derrick Thomas (9) are the only players to earn a Pro Bowl selection in each of their first eight seasons. Donald has been named the AP Defensive Player of the Year three times (2017, 2018, 2020) and won his first Super Bowl with the Rams this past season.
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“Aaron has proved that time and time and time again,” Smith said. “His ability to take over a game and single-handedly will his team to a victory has just been remarkable to watch.”