NFL Notebook: Donald, McVay contemplate retirement

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Dan Halverson

February 16th, 2022

The NFL season has concluded with the Los Angeles Rams defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. While players around the league take much-deserved vacations to let their bodies recover, the rest of us are left to bemoan the fact that the 2022 season is seven months away.

As we settle in for a long offseason, there is still plenty to pay attention to from around the league. Let’s take a spin around the country in this edition of our NFL Notebook.

Donald, McVay could retire

With the Super Bowl now concluded, two of the most integral pieces of the championship-winning Rams team are reportedly contemplating a career change.

As was first reported last weekend, Aaron Donald is mulling over retirement after finally reaching the pinnacle of the sport with a Super Bowl championship. Donald has done essentially everything there is to do as a defensive player in the NFL and is surely a Hall of Famer.

His work ethic and tenacious play make him the elite player he is, but it is surely exhausting as well. After such a long and arduous season, it is fair for Donald to want to step back, but this could be a psychological tactic to deescalate the intensity of this multi-month campaign.

Another potential retirement candidate is head coach Sean McVay, who is reportedly considering a move into broadcasting.

McVay is well known for his recall ability, and that would be a compelling and useful skill in the booth, but moving on from coaching at age 36, and a 2022 Super Bowl contender in tow, would make very little sense. That said, Tony Romo makes $17.5 million a year as a broadcaster for CBS, so perhaps McVay sees a path to more money with more downtime.

Ultimately, it is unlikely that either member of the Rams is done with the team, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Vikings hire new head coach

One certain Rams defector, however, is offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, who is set to be introduced as the Minnesota Vikings' new head coach.

At just 36 years old, O’Connell follows a wave of youthfulness taking over head coaching positions around the league. He is expected to recruit another Rams coach, tight ends coach Wes Phillips, to be his offensive coordinator.

O’Connell spent just two seasons in Los Angeles following three in Washington. The quick ascension to a head coaching role is an impressive climb for the former five-year professional. He will now attempt to take a talented Vikings roster to the postseason for the first time in three years in 2022.

Free-agent watch

As will likely be the case throughout many months of the offseason, Aaron Rodgers will be the most watched player that is potentially on the move, but there is a long list of other key players from around the league who are open to recruitment from various teams looking to strengthen their rosters for next season.

An impressive slew of wide receivers are some of the most notable names to watch. The Packers’ Davante Adams, the Bucs’ Chris Godwin, and the Bears’ Allen Robinson could all find themselves in new locales in 2022, if the right offer comes along.

Recently injured Odell Beckham Jr. is also going to test the open market, but following his ACL tear in the first half of the Super Bowl, he is sure to receive a lesser deal than he might have otherwise secured. It is a bad-luck break for a player that saw a legitimate resurgence with the Rams.

NFL Draft order is set

The 2022 NFL Draft in April is officially the next football event to look forward to. The Jacksonville Jaguars will have the first choice overall, while the Eagles get three picks in the top 19.

It is a promising stack for an Eagles franchise that saw success in 2021, a year or two earlier than many expected, and they will now have an opportunity to make impactful selections that could make them legitimate contenders, not just in the NFC East, but the entire league.

The Rams do not have a first-round pick, while the Jets and Giants both have two top-10 picks each.