The Los Angeles Rams are less than two years removed from winning Super Bowl 56 but they're currently undergoing a rebuild and there's a strong chance they won't be very good in 2023. This could lead the Rams' brass to place defensive tackle Aaron Donald on the trade block. If the All-Pro does become available, the Jacksonville Jaguars should target him.
Jason McIntyre of Fox Sports recently shared five bold predictions for the 2023 season and one of them is that Los Angeles could trade Donald, noting that they already shipped Jalen Ramsey to the Dolphins and lost Bobby Wagner in free agency. Here's the skinny on J-Mac's prediction:
"I can see them being one of the worst teams in the league, and thus they decide to pull the trigger and trade Aaron Donald, basically their only good defender. Look at the PFF stats for this defense — it is abysmal. I know that they won the Super Bowl going with the big Stafford, Kupp, and Donald. But then everything fell apart. They lost Jalen Ramsey, their best cornerback, who basically shut down one side of the field. "
The Rams losing two of their three best defenders leads McIntyre to conclude that Donald could be next. For the sake of clarity though, there are no reports indicating the Pro Bowl defensive tackle wants to leave Los Angeles or that the Rams are looking to shop him. Still, this prediction hypothesis makes sense.
If the Rams will start over, it makes sense for general manager Les Snead to get as many future assets as possible. They got a third-round pick for Ramsey, and there's a realistic chance they could fitch a first if they made Donald available.
A first round-pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Donald has made the Pro Bowl nine times and earned seven First-Team All-Pro designations. He's racked up 490 total tackles, 103 sacks, and 24 forced fumbles over the last nine seasons. He's the kind of game-changes that makes defenses better and offensive coordinators have to spend the night before game-planning for.
Aaron Donald would give the Jacksonville Jaguars D-Line a huge boost
Aaron Donald could bring back unpleasant memories to Jaguars fans. Back in 2021, Jacksonville lost 37-7 to the Rams, and besides sacking a then-rookie Trevor Lawrence, Donald stripped the football from running back James Robinson even though there's not much he could've done to avoid fumbling.
Meyer promptly benched Robinson and inserted Carlos Hyde into the starting lineup. While Donald had no role on the benching, it's still a moment the Jaguars would surely like to forget.
Going back to the present day, the Jaguars have done a good job of fortifying their defensive front, inking Folorunso Fatukasi last year and giving extensions to Davon Hamilton and Roy Robertson-Harrison in the offseason. However, Donald would be a huge upgrade. He's the rare defensive tackle that can create pressure up front from inside. His presence would allow outside linebackers Travon Walker and Josh Allen to get favorable matchups on the edges. Simply put, the Jaguars' pass rush would go from solid to great.
Donald is set to make $13.5 million in 2023 and the Jaguars have a bit over $15 million in space but they could rework a few deals if they needed a bit extra. By now, you might be wondering why would Donald join the Jaguars. At 32, he probably has a few good years left in him and another chance to cash in. He's already solidified his legacy but the Jaguars seemed to be built to make a deep playoff run and could be the missing piece to get to the Super Bowl.
And whether Jacksonville reaches the championship game, Donald would have a chance to raise his stock with a chance to earn another long-term contract next year.
In previous years, the Jacksonville Jaguars weren't an ideal destination for free agents and players looking to win. Things have changed though and they're one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now. They should take advantage of that appeal to pursue Donald if he becomes available.