The Los Angeles Rams don’t have a lot to be excited about, but they do have defensive tackle Aaron Donald, one of the best defensive players in the NFL.
The Rams don’t have Donald at their voluntary OTAs however, because Donald wants a new contract.
Donald’s absence Monday was notable, and reports from NFL Network’s Steve Wyche and Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News said it was in relation to Donald’s contract. Donald’s absence – you can’t really call it a holdout, since OTAs are voluntary – is not a major concern yet, because general manager Les Snead indicated a deal is close.
“We’re definitely at the serious stage of negotiating,” Snead said, according to Myles Simmons of the Rams’ site.
The Rams need to make sure it gets done and Donald is content. Donald is still on his rookie deal and scheduled to make just $1.8 million this season. Considering Donald’s next contract should be for about Von Miller money (Miller’s 2017 base salary: $17 million) and Donald’s teammate Trumaine Johnson will make $16.7 million this season due to multiple franchise tags (which, amazingly, is the fourth highest base salary in the entire NFL), you can understand why Donald didn’t bother coming to OTAs on Monday.
Donald is considered among the elite defenders in the game, in the same class as Miller, J.J. Watt, Khalil Mack and a few others. Some believe he’s the best defensive player in the game, with his unique quickness in the middle of the Rams’ defensive line.
When Donald’s deal does get done, it’s possible the total value could surpass Miller’s $114.5 million contract, which is tops among NFL defenders. Donald will be getting a fortune upon signing, but the Rams really can’t afford to not make him happy.
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