First Call: More details on Aaron Donald’s new contract; Ravens DB flustered with NFL video game; Pirates’ path to staying hot

Tuesday’s “First Call” has the details on Aaron Donald’s contract. We look at what lies ahead for the suddenly competitive Pittsburgh Pirates. And we offer up a little Penguins contrast to the firing of Bruce Cassidy in Boston.

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

Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

That’s not true. I could’ve resisted. I just thing 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 is getting 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 evening.

“I’m locked back in to go get us another ring. Why not? At SoFi Stadium, getting 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 he openly contemplated retirement after he won his first Super Bowl in February. So the Rams gave him the money he was looking for to keep him on the roster.

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

Rapoport said no new years were added to Donald’s contract. It now guarantees him $65 million over the next two seasons and $95 million through the 2024 season. broke it down this way.

• Signing bonus: $25 million

• 2022 bonus roster: $5 million, fully guaranteed. 2022 base salary: $1.5 million, fully guaranteed.

• 2023 bonus roster: $15 million, fully guaranteed and due on the second day of 2023 league year. The 2023 base salary is $13.5 million, guaranteed for injury at signing and fully guaranteed as of third day of 2023 league year.

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

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


A Raven 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 portrayed as getting stiff-armed to the turf by Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb.

Humphrey appears less than thrilled with his inclusion in the advertisement.

Maybe EA Sports can make it up to Humphrey in their next promo clip by replicating one of his 11 career pass breakups, three forced fumbles, or two interceptions that he has had against the Browns in his career.

That should even the score.

Making changes

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

An interesting result given this comparison to Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, since 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 Eastern Conference’s top wild-card team. They 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 going to remain hot, they may have to ramp up their game even more.

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

The Buccos play their next two games at home against the slumping 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 dreadful on the road, winning just six of 24 games away from home. No team in Major League Baseball has fewer road wins.

From there, though, things get tougher. The Pirates go on an eight-game road trip. Four in Atlanta. Four in St. Louis.

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

The Cardinals are 32-23, second place in the NL Central. That’s 6½ games better than the Pirates in the division. Their +56 run differential is third-best in the National League, bolstered by an 18-4 win 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 Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

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