Are the Rams concerned about giving Aaron Donald big money?

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The Rams have yet to give defensive tackle Aaron Donald the long-term offer he wants, probably because he wants market value. The Rams, clearly, don’t want to pay him market value.

One obvious reason for that comes from the fact that the Rams could choose to pay Donald on a year-to-year basis over the next three or four seasons and, in turn, pay him much less than the $20 million per year he surely wants. But there’s another less obvious concern that may be motivating the Rams.

Over the years, some defensive tackles who cash in with big-money deals seem to lose the edge that fueled their effort to get those big-money deals. Let’s call it the Albert Haynesworth effect; the former Titans defensive tackle never lived up to the $100 million deal he signed with Washington after spending a couple of years under the franchise tag in Tennessee.

While there’s no reason to think Donald will suddenly take his foot off the gas once he gets paid, no one really knows how any player will react to getting paid until he gets paid. For the Rams, who can continue to dangle the carrot on a year-to-year basis, there has to be at least some concern that, by paying a lot more, they’ll get a lot less.

Then there’s the J.J. Watt conundrum. Although he more than earned the first two years of the $100 million deal the Texans gave him after only three seasons, injuries have limited Watt to only eight games over the last two years, and there’s a concern that Watt may never be the same, thanks to the cumulative effect of seven seasons of being double- and triple-teamed.

Watt’s injury issues became significant after his fifth NFL campaign. Donald is entering his fifth NFL campaign. If Donald is destined to begin to break down physically, it will be much better for the Rams to not give Donald, for example, $60 million fully guaranteed over the next three years.

Faced with these circumstances, it’s no surprise that Donald reportedly won’t play another down of football under his current contract. But that position ignores the reality that, if Donald doesn’t show up at all this year, his $6.892 million salary for 2018 bumps to 2019. And if he doesn’t show up in 2019, it bumps to 2020.

Maybe the Rams will eventually decide to trade Donald to a team that would be willing to roll the dice on the possibility that Donald won’t physically be able to earn his long-term deal. Maybe they’ll eventually blink and pay him what he wants, or at least something close to it. Or maybe they’ll dig in, reluctant to make a major investment on which they may never get a full return and refusing to blink as Donald prepares to skip training camp, and possibly beyond.

37 responses to “Are the Rams concerned about giving Aaron Donald big money?

  1. Historically speaking it’s recently been a bad investment to put major cap dollars into DTs. See Haynesworth, Albert and Suh, Ndamukong.

  2. It depends how you believe you can build a winner.

    The Rams are legendary morons for waiting on Donald. He has all the leverage and now will likely force a trade, Suh is likely gone after this year, but the key is drafting and then paying your own guy in house.

    The person above rattled off names of free agents. Donald is not a free agent.

    This is arrogance and greed by Kroenke whose focus was more about moving the team to LA.

    Donald is the best interior lineman since Wilfork and they have ignored a slam dunk decision that should have happened 2.5 years ago, well before his rookie contract expired.

    I have never seen a more slam dunk decision but it is the Flacco issue all over again.

    The Rams signed up for Hard Knocks and failed to pay Donald.

    Pathetic.

  3. There is definitely a lot of examples to the negative, but also there are other players whom got big money and still put it out on the field like they are year to year. Fletcher Cox, Geno Atkins, come to mind right off the bat.

  4. Worried about injuries? How about signing Cooks who can’t seem to stay healthy and is frail. Girley Man, had major surgery when at Georgia. Both of those contract will be a thorn in the side for the Rams.

  5. 19dead2 says:
    July 26, 2018 at 10:05 am
    Worried about injuries? How about signing Cooks who can’t seem to stay healthy and is frail. Girley Man, had major surgery when at Georgia. Both of those contract will be a thorn in the side for the Rams.

    ————————-

    I am telling you, this is all about Kroenke and PSL sales, with greed. Gurley and Cooks can be sold to flakey LA fans as “stars”. Donald is a DT and if you are a casual fan of the NFL and waelthy in LA, you probably have no idea who that guy is.

    I still can’t believe the Rams wasted a 1st rd pick for Cooks on TOP of what they just paid him,

    When a team runs in the opposite direction of what the Pats do, or a good, consistent franchise does, the team is either a bunch of morons or the owner is meddling, or both.

    The Jets did this with their PSL/new stadium push in 2008, and quite frankly, is tied to why “Spygate” happened. Woody Johnson hired Goodell and then he went on a revenge tour to try to cheat the Pats, because he wanted his team to magically be on NE’s level overnight.

    Follow the money and you can get a lot of answers in life.

  6. The Rams are spending like drunk sailors with the goal of keeping the Chargers out of the hearts and minds of the LA Sports fans and making them into the Giants to the Chargers Jets. Actually winning the SuperBowl is second to that goal.

  7. There is no reason to fear a drop off in performance from Donald. Not for those of us who have seen him play.

    Injury? No more so than any other player on the roster.

    There is a limit to how much they can pay Donald. He only affects the game so much. Rams run defense was ranked 28th last year, that’s why they got Suh.

  8. Tylaw
    From what I understand Donald has NO leverage. He is under contract. If he holds out the entire year he gets fined, does not get paid and still is in the same position come next year.
    Care to explain how that is “leverage”?

  9. The Rams have screwed up this situation with Donald. They should have given him a big raise on a 2/3 year deal, then signed some of their other players to deals that made sense. But they chose to extend guys that when it wasn’t necessary or prudent(Gurley Cooks). Now they have to give Donald a 20 mil for 2/3 or he will not report. I would doubt that Donald wants to leave. But he may have to to get paid. Dumb

  10. You assert that the Rams have not offered “market value,” but you don’t define the term.

    If the Rams offered $21M/year, that would make him the highest paid defender in the league. Is that “market value”? That depends on what other teams might offer… or, at least, it would if Donald was a FA, which he is not.

    Seems like your premise is fault.

  11. So they gave Jeff Fisher, Les Snead, Tavon Austin, the punter, Gurley and a new comer Cooks an extension but can’t pay the best and most consistent player on the team for the last 3 years?

  12. Donald is getting shanked here. It doesn’t matter how great he is because all that’s happening is the Rams are finding any reason under the sun not to pay him what he’s worth. Imagine treating a MVP QB this way. Aaron will have to demand a trade and decide to continue his career somewhere else just to get market value. If he’s an NBA player teams are competing to throw 140 million at him with a smile and fans and team management alike sing kumbahya….but in the NFL it’s downright a war about what money a team parts with between fans complaining cap hits and front offices just shaving nickels and dimes off whatever way possible.

  13. If people do not believe Kroenke’s hands are on this they are crazy. StanK is not one to be backed in a corner in business let alone AA-Ron. Stan is sleazeball.

  14. I would say Suh has been worth every penny he’s made. Not many NFL players train as hard as he does. I would say his time with the Dolphins was more of him being on a poorly coached team that didn’t utilize his strengths. I would expect more of a Detroit Lion stat line with Suh this year with the Rams. Dude just brings it and can back it up.

  15. 2ruefan says:
    July 26, 2018 at 10:18 am
    Tylaw
    From what I understand Donald has NO leverage. He is under contract. If he holds out the entire year he gets fined, does not get paid and still is in the same position come next year.
    Care to explain how that is “leverage”?

    3 0 Rate This

    —————————-

    He has leverage because he’s the best player on defense in the NFL. He is in his prime and Suh won’t be there past this year. Talib and Suh are 1 year rentals because Goff is due and they just overpaid for both Cooks and Gurley.

    Peters is due and Joyner needs to be paid and they are renting Whitworth at Tackle. In other words, these moving parts are problems they’ve created for themselves.

    You can’t have that many key pieces having leverage on the GM.

    Get it?

    Joyner is a good player. Peters, I would not pay and would deal after this year, and I’d move Joyner to RCB.

    At the end of the day, this approach is horrendous and never works, unless you’re John Elway and rent a cheating HOF QB who used HGH to stay on the field, and quite frankly, I always wondered if Denver cheated the cap in 2015 with their little All Star team of overpaid players there, too.

    But, we’ll never know about that since Article 46 completely disappeared from Goodell’s desk at that time. lmao

  16. What I have not seen is what Aaron Donald is asking for. That’s a big part of the equation. If he’s asking for Suh money, then I don’t blame the Rams for not giving in. The problem I think the Rams have created is some of the other contracts. My personal view is the Cooks and Gurley deals were not good. While it’s not the same to compare because they play different positions, I think Donald is a much more dominant player than Cooks. Just my opinion, others may disagree, but giving Cooks that kind of money has to be a factor. This will either probably turn out really good or there’ll be a Rams fire sale in about two years. History does not side with the Rams, but it could pan out this time.

  17. Mistake to get Suh and let Donald walk.

    Put all these guys on 2 year contracts.
    5-6 years is crazy.
    Team needs “Long term security” too…
    Keep ’em hungry and hard working.
    If they slack, move on.

  18. How can they not commit long term to Brandon Graham? He had a great season last year and was one of the main reasons the Eagles won the Super Bowl.

  19. phillytailgater says:
    July 26, 2018 at 10:00 am
    There is definitely a lot of examples to the negative, but also there are other players whom got big money and still put it out on the field like they are year to year. Fletcher Cox, Geno Atkins, come to mind right off the bat.

    —————————

    Correct. And, the guy above can’t see those guys WERE DRAFTED BY THOSE teams, while Haynesworth and Suh were FA splash moves by moron GMs who don’t know what the term “leverage” even means.

    If you pay your stud future HOF player ahead of the rookie deal, you make it appear like you’re overpaying at the time, but really, you’re projecting on the market and doing the right thing.

    Gronk was paid 2 years in advance because Belichick is the best GM in sports, and honestly, he’s the best of all time. His understanding the market, development, where to put the money so it doesn’t hurt the cap, is brilliant.

    Snead is either dumb and arrogant or being told what to do here by Kroenke.

    If you want to see why ratings are falling a bit, one of the reasons is this. Greed, stemming from how to quickly get sales and revenue, where a roster is completely top heavy.

    This is Denver 2015. The only reason why Denver won a SB in 2015 is because Goodell allowed Manning to cheat with HGH and the Pats brought a B Squad to Denver and Gostkoswki missed a 33 yard extra point.

    But, this won’t work for the Rams. You can book it.

  20. On an excellent Rams blog they reported a tweet that claimed the Rams offering $21mil per year but his agent was insulted and looking for 25+. Not the most credible source, but if true Donald living in another world if he thinks he is getting that.

    Add in that the Rams have the use of the tag after this year, Donald has almost no leverage and his advisors not doing him any favors here.

  21. thefappingbearcutler says:
    July 26, 2018 at 10:46 am
    I would say Suh has been worth every penny he’s made. Not many NFL players train as hard as he does. I would say his time with the Dolphins was more of him being on a poorly coached team that didn’t utilize his strengths. I would expect more of a Detroit Lion stat line with Suh this year with the Rams. Dude just brings it and can back it up.

    ——————————

    So, this is pretty much wrong. Just because a weak market in Miami wildly overpaid Suh, does not mean he’s earned every penny.

    I can tell you right now that a player like Suh or Watt in Houston never do jack squat against the Pats. Literally nothing. I can’t name one play either one has made.

    So, they’re overpaid. The media likes to put a tag on a player early on based on when they’re drafted and the hype they get. Suh is no dummy. He played very well in Detroit and got paid. Since then, he’s been coasting. He’s a classic manipulator and only cares about himself.

    He just did it again by going to the highest bidder.

    If he wanted a ring, he’d go to a franchise that knows what they’re doing. Les Snead apparently accidentally fleeced Snyder and the Skins in that RG3 deal, but he’s done absolutely jack squat with it.

  22. @TyLaw.

    It is fascinating just how little you know of the situation. Donald has leverage, but only so much as to refuse his services. If he doesn’t show up by Aug 10, then the Rams can make him an RFA next year, and only have to pay him $2 million. If he doesn’t show up at all this season, then he doesn’t get paid, and plays next year on the same deal. If he demands a trade, the Rams will likely be looking for 2 firsts and a stud player for him (probably on their rookie deal still). The CBA is almost entirely in the team’s favor these days.

    Furthermore. Joyner entered the league as a slot CB, because he’s too small to play outside. Wade moved him to FS and he became one of the highest rated safeties in the league. But yeah, let’s definitely move on from an All Pro, to move a great player at his current position, to a position he’s too small for.

    Also, an obvious Pats fan accusing another team of having a “cheating HOF QB” is F-ing hilarious. “Mr Kettle, You have Mr. Pot calling on line 2” LOLOLOLOL

  23. @RobfromAmarillo

    If they didn’t extend Cooks, then he would be a Free Agent next year as well. They would have traded a first rounder for a 1 year rental, and they wouldn’t have the option of franchising him, not knowing if Donald gets done.
    Gurley was a proactive move. The kid is only 23 and has a OPOY under his belt. The entirety of this deal is the years he plays under 30 (i.e. an RBs prime). And if you don’t think it would have been more expensive to wait until after Bell gets paid next year, you’re dreaming. So yeah, both those signings were prudent

  24. cominupthrillho says:
    July 26, 2018 at 11:21 am
    @RobfromAmarillo

    If they didn’t extend Cooks, then he would be a Free Agent next year as well. They would have traded a first rounder for a 1 year rental, and they wouldn’t have the option of franchising him, not knowing if Donald gets done.
    Gurley was a proactive move. The kid is only 23 and has a OPOY under his belt. The entirety of this deal is the years he plays under 30 (i.e. an RBs prime). And if you don’t think it would have been more expensive to wait until after Bell gets paid next year, you’re dreaming. So yeah, both those signings were prudent

    ———————

    It’s not about extending Cooks, it’s about paying him almost double what he is worth. Julio Jones is holding out due to the ridiculous Watkins and Cooks contracts, as he should.

    All it takes is one moron franchise to do something stupid, and cap hell is set off all over the league.

  25. How can anyone in their right mind compare Aaron Donald to Fat Albert Haynesworth? Donald is the best defensive player in football and Haynesworth was nothing more the a fat blob that clogged the middle. Like the blob he got fatter and fatter and until he imploded. That will not happen to Donald and the dude should hold out until he gets paid what”s due him because its a short ride.

  26. cominupthrillho says:
    July 26, 2018 at 11:15 am
    @TyLaw.

    It is fascinating just how little you know of the situation. Donald has leverage, but only so much as to refuse his services. If he doesn’t show up by Aug 10, then the Rams can make him an RFA next year, and only have to pay him $2 million. If he doesn’t show up at all this season, then he doesn’t get paid, and plays next year on the same deal. If he demands a trade, the Rams will likely be looking for 2 firsts and a stud player for him (probably on their rookie deal still). The CBA is almost entirely in the team’s favor these days.

    Furthermore. Joyner entered the league as a slot CB, because he’s too small to play outside. Wade moved him to FS and he became one of the highest rated safeties in the league. But yeah, let’s definitely move on from an All Pro, to move a great player at his current position, to a position he’s too small for.

    Also, an obvious Pats fan accusing another team of having a “cheating HOF QB” is F-ing hilarious. “Mr Kettle, You have Mr. Pot calling on line 2” LOLOLOLOL

    ——————–

    Anyone who believes Goodell with regards to Framegate II, has no business talking about economics and market projections in the NFL.

    Go back to whatever part time job it is you have and good luck.

  27. The Eagles gave Fletcher Cox the most guaranteed money for a non-QB ever…and all he did was help the Eagle’s defense stop the run and apply pressure on opposing QBs without having to send a blitz…Wilfork, Watt, Strahan, Sapp, Cox…there are so many examples where paying your own defensive linemen is worth it! All the failed examples given were of free agent defensive linemen…the Rams are dumb…that is all!!!

  28. There is a report he was offered $21M/year, and his agent claimed to be insulted. It said they are asking $25M/year. If that is true, I am less inclined to feel bad for Donald, and more inclined to believe what the Rams are saying. They have proven they will pay their players. Maybe there is more to this than we are being told. If Donald is asking for QB money, then the Rams are smart to not agree. I love Donald, and believe he should get paid, but not QB money.

  29. The rams are in a tight situation. If they give Donald a super signing bonus upfront to ease the cap numbers on the back end, hes likely to hold out again in a few years feeling underpaid when other DTs sign new contracts, meanwhile if they backload his contract so that he doesnt feel underpaid in a few years it will create cap hell when Goff’s extention kicks in.
    I guess now we have a better idea why they brought it Suh because they probably have to trade Donald to a team who can better handle his situation.

  30. The GM overloaded their wagon with the Suh, Cooks and Gurley deals. Now they don’t have the money to pay the best defensive player in the game. Really dumb.

  31. thefiesty1 says:
    July 26, 2018 at 1:22 pm
    The GM overloaded their wagon with the Suh, Cooks and Gurley deals. Now they don’t have the money to pay the best defensive player in the game. Really dumb.
    ___

    You’re just plain wrong. They have plenty of money. That’s not the issue.

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