Rams, Aaron Donald “not close”

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The Rams are optimistic that defensive tackle Aaron Donald will return this week. Maybe they shouldn’t be.

Per a league source, the Rams and Donald are negotiating but are “not close” on a deal.

While the Rams have been mum about the reasons for Donald’s absence, the reality is that Donald has decided to take a stand against the current rookie compensation system. And good for him for doing it.

During the last labor negotiations, the NFL insisted on an overhaul to the rookie compensation in order to ensure that draft busts don’t bogart millions from the available pot of player money. The problem, however, is that players who are the opposite of busts have to wait too long to get the financial reward that they no longer get when they are drafted.

Donald is scheduled to make $17 million over the first five years of his career. At that point, the Rams could apply the franchise two times, keeping him away from free agency for seven years — and putting him on the open market when he’s on the brink of 30.

Yes, he’s under contract. But it’s not as if the contract was freely negotiated. He was stuck with the deal that his draft spot dictated, and he has devices available under the labor deal for exerting leverage in an effort to get the Rams to forget about the $1.8 million he’s due to make this year, the $6.8 million he’s due to make next year, and the two tags the Rams could apply.

It won’t be easy; typically, only those players who get to the open market get market-changing money. But if Donald is willing to dig in and skip games, he possibly will get the Rams to value him based upon his skills and abilities and not based upon the dollars and cents otherwise spelled out in the remaining years of his contract and future possible use of the franchise tag.

38 responses to “Rams, Aaron Donald “not close”

  1. The main reason the NFLPA agreed to the rookie salary schedule was to make more money available to the veterans. Incoming rookies have no say in CBA negotiations. Veterans in the union only want to increase their income. Makes sense to me.

  2. “The Rams are optimistic that defensive tackle Aaron Donald will return this week. Maybe they shouldn’t be.
    Per a league source, the Rams and Donald are negotiating but are “not close” on a deal.”

    If they’re optimistic, there’s probably a reason to be. They’ve been talking with Donald the whole time. Wouldn’t the Rams know how close they are?

    This anonymous league source could be anybody.

  3. Rams should trade him now. I think paying him big bucks to go down this road won’t work out well in the end.

  4. I’ve never seen anything quite like this in my life. Usually when the people you pay to represent you don’t do a good job, you fire them. Every time I hear about how bad the labor deal is, it seems like there is anger toward the league. The league wasn’t the only person at the negotiating table. If I were a team, I would gladly renegotiate a guy like Aaron Donald’s contract, but I would insist on him firing his representative first. Why should someone who is bad at his job be able to keep it? After all, this whole thing is about a person being compensated correctly according to the job he’s done. Donald has been great, and deserves more money. His representatives have been terrible. Why are they still employed? Bizarre.

  5. If he doesn’t like his contract he doesn’t have to be a football player. He could sell copy machines to businesses, he could be a landscaper, he could be an Uber driver. The CBA is what it is, he gets the money slotted to him. This guy has no bargaining chips.

  6. The rookie compensation system is fair and a good practice, especially when you look at the number of 1st round busts before it was put into place. The Rams should make a good gesture by telling Donald that they are going to negotiate a new contract if he shows up, of course that doesn’t always work. Maybe he doesn’t want to play for the Rams anymore.

  7. Jarvis Laundry for Aaron Donald.

    One team can claim one of the best receiving corps in the NFL, the other can claim the best defensive line in the NFL

  8. Aaron Donald doesn’t have a case. He has 2 years (this year and next) left on his contract. He better report ASAP. HONOR THE CONTRACT YOU SIGNED. What have the Rams won with Aaron Donald in the line-up? The Rams G.M. ought to tell him to get lost.

  9. waynefontesismyfather says:
    September 2, 2017 at 10:14 am
    If he doesn’t like his contract he doesn’t have to be a football player. He could sell copy machines to businesses, he could be a landscaper, he could be an Uber driver. The CBA is what it is, he gets the money slotted to him. This guy has no bargaining chips.
    —-‘
    Donald is arguably the best interior lineman in the NFL. His bargaining chips is his service. You say he can stay at home like he would be the only one hurt. He is slotted to make $1.8 million this year. His production indicates he is worth $15 million this season. The Rams lose out on about $13 million worth of production. Not only that but since a great interior lineman hides weaknesses on your defense such as average or below average linebackers in terms of run stopping this also brings down the value of players at those positions also.

    Everyone seems to be arm chair tough guy GMs these days and don’t know much of what they are talking about.

  10. CharlieCharger: it wasn’t Donald’s agent that negotiated this deal. It was the NFLPA (the union). There isn’t any real negotiating with rookie contracts anymore – the salaries are set according to where they were drafted. It is his agent who is negotiating this new deal for him.

  11. Note the implicit suggestion in this article that the NFL abandon the draft because it’s not a fair labor situation, and we can just have an annual free agency free for all players coming out of college (who will also be able to leave college at the time of their choosing, or skip it all together I suppose, because ‘fair’).

    Sure sounds like a good way to ruin a league.

  12. The 2 best Defensive Tackles in the NFL are Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald. Ndamukong is on a 6 year $114m deal with $60M guaranteed by the Dolphins and Aaron Donald is under contract to make $1.8M this season and maybe $6.8M next year. I can’t understand why Aaron is seeking a better deal.
    Maybe when the LA Rams Defense looks pretty brittle after a few games, the GM should consider rewarding its best player with an offer that reflects his market worth.

  13. I’m starting to realize that being an NFL player is not necessarily a wise career option, financially. This guy is an upper echelon talent and STILL his contract coming out of college whoops him. Imagine how it must be for a player who is 26 years old and was never so highly touted. Owners are pretty greedy!

  14. Donald is represented by the same agency that told Joey Bosa to refuse to report his rookie season just to force the Chargers to include offset language in his rookie deal. They are certainly telling Donald to sit out as long as possible over this.

    The Rams need to play hardball. Live without him until he has to come back in 2017. He won’t be able to hold out this long in 2018 without losing an accrued season. Then franchise tag him in 2019 (maybe even 2020). That’s 2.5 – 3.5 seasons of play at a bargain compared to what he’s asking. Way better than five years as the highest paid defensive player in the NFL.

  15. The union negotiated a 55% cut of league revenues with the owners and how to divide that up between the players. For some reason Florio thinks that there is an inexhaustible supply of money so that every player who thinks that he is being screwed should get more. Unfortunately guys like Osweiler get 16 million and guys like Donald only get a measly 5 million. If they go on strike, how much more will they get, 57%, 59%? Still a finite amount of money that needs to get spread around.

  16. “Donald has decided to take a stand against the current rookie compensation system. And good for him for doing it.”

    No its not good. The rookie scale is one of the best additions to the CBA in the cap era. Before it there were far to many players like Ryan Leaf who were paid vast salaries / bonuses and never produced squat at the pro level. The teams who paid those huge salaries were the worst teams that needed the most help. The pre rookie wage scale system hurt the teams getting the highest picks who needed the most help.

  17. Rookie contracts seem pretty good to me – especially Donald’s. For all 1st rounders get signed to multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts, 70% of which is fully guaranteed, despite not having yet proved themselves at this level. It’s a good risk/reward compromise for both sides. What would you prefer when drafted – $17M (of which $12M is guaranteed come what may) or a $30K internship for a year with the chance of a contract at the end closer to the value you displayed (be that higher or lower than $17M)?

  18. I was in the carpenters union for 18 year , you to thru an apprenticeship program for 4 years getting raises along the way until you become a journeyman , I worked with a lot of apprentices who were head and shoulders above the rest and don’t remember any of the sitting home until the were give jouryman rates, ounce the did become journeyman the money followers , you would get paid over the overtime and get promoted, that’s how it works for the rest of us

  19. Aaron Donald has been the best player on that team and one of the best in the NFL for the past 3 years. He does not have anything else to prove. He did not sign a contract. what he gets has been collectively bargained. everybody knows the CBA is one sided in the owners favor. However if i am the owner of the Rams, moving in a new market,i would show some good faith by paying my best player. No where in the CBA does it say you cannot get a different contract when you have grossly outplayed the current one you have.

  20. If the Rams want to tank this year, then no urgency to sign Donald. If they finish in the bottom 3 then that draft pick would bring a bounty in trades. Even with Donald the team will not be great—-the teams holds all of the leverage.

  21. The Rams are being very fair in offering what many believe is a market based contract even though they don’t have to under the terms of the labor agreement. It seems Donald’s agents are trying to take advantage of the Rams trying to get re-established in LA to offer more, like a 3 year out. Rams will not go for that and they shouldn’t. They will let him hold out.

  22. Why are players wanting to leave the Rams (see Janoris Jenkins, soon to be Trumaine Johnson and now Donald (?)? On a team devoid of talent just moving in to a new market what would you not want to keep a young budding star happy? This is typical of a Ram’s organization that has no concept of the on the field product!! Come on LA Fans aren’t you happy you bought in to the Stanley concept of sports management!!!!

  23. The old rookie payment system punished teams for years. Whoever drafted Sam Bradford got hosed; the Lions were on the hook for like $72 million for Matt Stafford who was probably the last overall #1 to get the big money.

    On the one hand, Stafford was probably worth what they paid him but then they were unable to put together the complementary pieces b/c they were financially strapped due to his contract.

  24. It helps to know why the current NFL rookie contract rules are in place and why the NFLPA agreed to them. Before the deal players such as 1st round #2 pick bust Ryan Leaf could negotiate as much as they could get which limited how much established veterans would make b/c of the salary cap. The NFLPA wanted a system that allowed the current players who they represented to maximize their free agent value instead of future players they weren’t yet representing.

    Ryan Leaf signed a 4 year contract of $31.25 million, which included a guaranteed $11.25 million signing bonus, all that was based on potential while established players made much less. So the current players and the majority of owners wanted a better system where teams weren’t giving huge contracts to kids that hadn’t played a snap, that also reduced the pool of money that vets could negotiate.

    As for Donald this year the franchise tag for a defensive tackle is $13.3 million guaranteed and in 2 years will most likely be around $15 million. If Donald wants to blame someone he needs to look at the players and NFLPA who negotiated this contract and not the owners. The current layers when this deal was agreed to wanted this as much as the teams did.

  25. Since the Rams aren’t going to make the playoffs this year, Donald has no leverage. The Rams probably won’t make the playoffs next year, so again, Donald has no leverage. When, or if the Rams become a competitive team, then Donald’s presence on the team will matter.

  26. They should add 500k per year more then the top dt contract. Which is held by either Fletcher Cox or Ndamukong Suh. They should put that onvthe table and say thats it. If you want more money then that your gonna have to sit and wait for another top dt to push the ceiling higher. That even though they want him there, the odds they arent winning a superbowl with or without him thjs year, and will happily sit on his rights all year long and have him not accrue a 4th year in the NFL. Letting him know that if he doesnt sign that more then fair contract they will not feel bad about holding his for 2 more seasons at less then $2m. Even if it takes uim 5 years to play them out. And it might even help to keep him that cheap for that long bc they might be able to compete for a title by the time he finishes his rookie contract.

    Seriously tho thjs should be 1 of the easiest contracts. The Eagles knew they had a top 3 dt n they knew he had to get paid near Suh n Mccoy. They didnt n had no problems while doing it. The rams know they got the best dt and they gotta pay him the most. Donald should know top contracts go up incremental. Your not jumping up millions over the previous record.

    So obviously 1 side is not negotiating in good faith. My money is on Donald over reaching.

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