49ers want nothing more than Aaron Donald trade rumors to come true

There are rumors circulating that the Rams could look to trade star defensive tackle Aaron Donald, which would be a dream come true for the 49ers.

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99)
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) / Michael Owens/GettyImages

If the Rams truly are looking to shop perennial All-Pro Aaron Donald, the 49ers will pay for his flight out of the NFC West.

Even in the wake of their blockbuster free-agent signing of defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, the San Francisco 49ers still don't have the best interior defender within the NFC West.

No, that distinction belongs to the Niners' divisional rivals, the Los Angeles Rams, who have made perennial All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald a cornerstone piece for the last nine years.

In the wake of the worst Super Bowl title defense in the modern football era, though, a rebuilding LA squad has already undergone plenty of notable changes, including trading away star cornerback Jalen Ramsey earlier this offseason.

Now, it appears as if Donald might potentially be the next star player in Southern California on the move.

NFL rumor mill: Fox Sports' Jason McIntyre speculates Rams trade Aaron Donald

It's one thing to hear a report. It's another to speculate, even with reasonable data that would support the prediction.

The latter category is what Fox Sports' Jason McIntyre did, coming up with five bold predictions for the 2023 season, and one of them involved a would-be blockbuster trade for Donald.

Here's what McIntyre had to say:

"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, Donald. But then everything fell apart. They lost Jalen Ramsey, their best cornerback, who basically shut down one side of the field. [They lose] their middle linebacker, Bobby Wagner, one of the best defenders on the team. They lose two of their top three defenders. I think you are in a window where this team … decides to just reboot and move on from Aaron Donald."

Rams general manager Les Snead isn't afraid of doing blockbuster deals. And while previous years have shown Los Angeles to be more aggressive in bringing in talent, the Ramsey trade is proof enough that Snead will offboard talent, too, if the context is right.

So, should LA struggle again this season, would a 32-year-old Donald be more valuable to head coach Sean McVay's team in terms of on-field play or in returned NFL Draft assets?

As McIntyre pointed out, the Rams defense was terrible last year even with Donald. But, even at his age, he's a cornerstone to build around.

49eres would love nothing more than Aaron Donald out of the NFC West

Sure, there may be some old chatter about how San Francisco's former offensive lineman, Daniel Brunskill, somehow managed to shut down Donald in recent years. Even if that was entirely true, Brunskill is now off with the Tennessee Titans. And, aside from All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, the bulk of the 49ers O-line is predominantly young and inexperienced with no member outside of Williams having more than one season as a full-time starter.

Over his Hall of Fame-caliber career, Donald has registered 12.5 sacks, 32 quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and 77 tackles in 17 regular-season games against the Niners.

That's a pretty good track record despite what the personal rivalry between Donald and wide receiver Deebo Samuel might say.

Either way, Donald is the lone piece that would make Los Angeles' defense any good moving forward, and his history against San Francisco is enough to suggest that a would-be trade would prompt the 49ers to pony up the cash to pay for the All-Pro's flight to his next hometown.

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