Sports

First call: more details on Aaron Donald’s new contract; Ravens DB troubled by NFL video game; The Pirates Way to Stay Warm

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Tuesday’s “First Call” features Aaron Donald’s contract details. We look at what lies ahead for the suddenly competitive Pittsburgh Pirates. And we offer a little Penguins contrast with Bruce Cassidy being fired in Boston.

Plus, a Baltimore Raven is in a “chicken” mood about the EA Sports Madden NFL 23 game.

Sorry. I could not resist.

It’s not true. I could have resisted. I just chose not to. I have poor impulse control.


Ready to go

Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald is ready to earn his massive new contract.

The Pitt product gets a $40 million raise that will make him the highest-paid defensive player in the league.

Donald acknowledged the new deal via the Rams’ social media account Monday night.

“I’m locked up to get us another ring. Why not? At SoFi Stadium, I get chills thinking about it. Let’s go to work,” Donald said.

The Penn Hills native was already under contract for $55 million over the next three seasons, but was openly considering retirement after winning his first Super Bowl in February. So the Rams gave him the money he was looking for to keep him on the roster.

According NFL Network Insider Ian RapoportDonald’s contract will make him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history.

Rapoport said no new years were added to Donald’s contract. He now guarantees him $65 million over the next two seasons and $95 million over the 2024 season.

ProFootballTalk.com broke it that way.

• Signing bonus: $25 million

• 2022 Alignment Bonus: $5 million, fully guaranteed. 2022 base salary: $1.5 million, fully guaranteed.

• 2023 roster bonus: $15 million, fully guaranteed and due on the second day of the 2023 league year. 2023 base salary is $13.5 million, guaranteed in the event of a signing injury and fully guaranteed from the third day of the 2023 league year.

• 2024 roster bonus: $5 million, guaranteed in the event of a signing injury. Fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2023 league year with no forfeiture language. The 2024 base salary is $30 million, fully guaranteed effective the fifth day of the 2024 league year. It would be paid with $20 million in option bonus and $10 million in base salary, for capping purposes.

It may even be enough to fill his tank if he has to make a few trips between Penn Hills and downtown Pittsburgh this summer.

Maybe.


A crow with ruffled feathers

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey is unhappy with the EA Sports Madden NFL 23 video game.

In a teaser clip, he is depicted being cocked on the turf by Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb.

Humphrey seems less than thrilled with his inclusion in the ad.

Maybe EA Sports can catch up with Humphrey in their next promotional clip by reproducing one of his 11 career pass-breakups, three forced fumbles or two interceptions he had against the Browns in his career.

That should even the score.


Make changes

The The Boston Bruins have fired their head coach Bruce Cassidy after six seasons in charge of the team. It went 245-108-46 in the regular season, 36-37 in the playoffs.

An interesting result given that comparison to Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as his Pens last won the Stanley Cup at the end of the 2017 playoffs.

The Bruins were 51-26-5 in 2021-22, making the playoffs as the top wild-card team in the Eastern Conference. They’ve lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games in the Eastern Conference First Round this season.

In each of Cassidy’s six seasons, the Bruins qualified for the playoffs.


Heat check

If the pirates are to stay hot, they may need to step up their game even further.

Winners of eight of their last 12 games, the Pirates are now 24-28. By hacker standards, that’s not bad.

The Buccos play their next two home games against the plummeting Detroit Tigers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Tigers have lost three in a row, after being swept at home by the New York Yankees. They are terrible on the road, winning just six of 24 away games. No Major League Baseball team has fewer road wins.

But from there, things get complicated. The Pirates are off on an eight-game road trip. Four in Atlanta. Four in Saint-Louis.

The Braves have won five in a row (averaging 7.2 points per game) and nine of 13. They are now 28-27, second in the National League East.

The Cardinals are 32-23, second in the NL Central. That’s 6½ games better than the Pirates in the division. Their +56 point differential is the third-best in the National League, bolstered by an 18-4 victory at PNC Park on May 22.

The Cardinals are 5-1 against the Pirates this year. And, yes, the Pirates are scheduled to face Adam Wainwright on June 15. We all know what that means.

Tim Benz is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Tim at tbenz@triblive.com or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless otherwise specified.


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