Aaron Donald is one of the best defensive players to ever step onto an NFL field but his name is suddenly being floated as a potential trade piece — and it just so happens the Cleveland Browns still need more depth at defensive tackle.
Donald, who won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2017, 2018, and 2020 was a catalyst for the Los Angeles Rams' turnaround in recent years. He helped them get to the Super Bowl in 2018 and then was a huge reason they won it all in 2021.
While much of the credit goes to Matthew Stafford, it was Donald who wrecked the Cincinnati Bengals' final attempt at a comeback when he pressured Joe Burrow, which kept him from hitting a wide-open Ja'Marr Chase for what would have been a winning touchdown.
As much as Donald has meant to the team, there are now rumors that he could be on the trade block — if the Rams continue to struggle in 2023.
Los Angeles took a major step in the wrong direction last year, going 5-12 after winning it all the prior season. They've since traded some of their big-name players such as Jalen Ramsey and Donald could be next.
Wold the Browns be interested?
Cleveland did add Dalvin Tomlinson in the offseason but they're still projected to start Jordan Elliott next to him. Donald would be a massive upgrade and would give them — by far — the most dominant line in the league with Myles Garrett and Za'Darius Smith there as well.
But the question comes down to his contract. Donald averages more than $30 million per season and while he's well worth the money, it would be tough to fit him into the cap.
Having said that, Andrew Berry has been a wizard when it comes to the numbers so there's no reason to think he couldn't figure it out — especially if the Browns were looking like serious contenders.
Would Donald play elsewhere?
Outside of the Browns control would be Donald's desire to play somewhere other than Los Angeles. He put to rest rumors about retirement but it doesn't seem like he's someone that wants to bounce around at the end of his career.
Still, any team that did trade for him could very well be looking at a player who isn't going to stick around for long and that has to be taken into consideration as well.