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Rams G.M. knows an Aaron Donald mega-deal is coming, maybe soon

St Louis Rams v Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 09: Defensive tackle Aaron Donald #99 of the St. Louis Rams on the bench during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 9, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Rams 31-14. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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Among the topics Rams General Manager Les Snead discussed at the NFL Scouting Combine Thursday was a potential new contract for star defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

Donald is going to make a lot of money. The Rams know this, and Snead said they’re willing to pay it.

“It’s definitely coming,” Snead said of an extension for Donald, who’s made the Pro Bowl in all three of his seasons and has become one of the NFL’s top defensive players. “The guy deserves a raise, there’s no doubt. Whether he gets a raise or not, he’s going to show up, do the things he does. But that is coming.”

A first-round pick in 2014, Donald is just 25, still on his standard rookie contract and under control of the Rams for two more seasons. Ideally the Rams would like to ink him to a long-term extension before they’d have to activate the fifth-year option on his rookie contract after next season, but that option protects the team in case a long-term deal can’t be worked out over the next several months.

Donald will make a base salary of $1.8 million next season, and his 2017 cap hit on his current deal is $3.2 million.

The story on a possible Donald extension suggested the Rams may have to make Donald the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player in a new deal, and that certainly seems possible. Von Miller of the Broncos is currently the highest-paid defensive player after he got $70 million guaranteed on a six-year deal last offseason. Snead didn’t talk numbers or specifics, but he’s aware the Rams will be spending big on Donald and should prepare accordingly.

“We know that’s on the horizon,” he said.