Second annual Aaron Donald holdout lingers

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As the Rams prepare for their first padded practice of 2018, defensive tackle Aaron Donald continues to stay away, still waiting for his long-awaited long-term contract and reportedly intent on not showing up until he gets it.

It’s still not clear when, or if, he’ll get it. As one league source explained it recently to PFT, the Rams focused on getting a Donald deal done. After it became apparent that an impasse still existed, the Rams turned their attention to trying to get receiver Brandin Cooks and safety Lamarcus Joyner signed to long-term contracts. (The Rams went 1-for-2 in that regard, since the window closed for signing Joyner on July 16.) Then, sensing a chance to get running back Todd Gurley signed to a win-win deal before Le'Veon Bell sets the bar ridiculously high in free agency, the Rams got that one done, too.

While the Rams surely still have the cash and cap space to get Donald done if they truly want to, the problem continues to be what Donald wants. There’s a loose belief in league circles that he’s looking for $20 million per year with the first three fully guaranteed — basically, the deal that defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh signed with the Dolphins three years ago. The Rams could opt to instead go year to year, with Donald’s fifth-year option followed by two years of the franchise tag. The end result would be an investment of less than $40 million over three years.

The only good news is that, despite the contractual conundrum, the player and his head coach are in communication.

“I spoke with him in the last day or so and we’re just checking in, seeing how he’s doing,” Rams coach Sean McVay told reporters on Saturday. “With regards to some of the specifics, that’s not really what our dialogue entails. Aaron knows how much I love him, we love him as an organization and want him to be here. But, we also respect and understand exactly what’s going on.”

Here’s what’s going on: Under an obscure provision of the CBA, Donald’s fifth-year option status subjects him to fines of $30,000 per day (not $40,000) for now. But once he misses a preseason game, the fine escalates to a regular-season game check. At $6.892 million in salary for 2018, that’s more than $400,000 per preseason game, and more than $1.6 million if he misses all four.

There’s another dynamic that’s relevant to Donald, given that he skipped all of training camp a year ago. If the doesn’t show up within 30 days of the September 6 season-opening game between the Falcons and Eagles, he won’t get a year of credit toward free agency. Which will keep him at three. Which will make him technically ineligible for unrestricted free agency in 2019.

None of these details matter if Donald is simply committed to not showing up until he gets his new deal. At some point, however, Rams owner Stan Kroenke (who didn’t amass billions by making bad business decisions) may say, “That’s the most I’m willing to do.” And if Donald refuses to ever take it, then he will have essentially retired.

36 responses to “Second annual Aaron Donald holdout lingers

  1. how did the best defensive lineman in football paint himself into this corner?

    doesn’t he have an agent?

    if he does, then he needs a new one;

  2. He’s not painted into a corner. He’ll show up right before the extra year kicks in and float through practices until he gets a deal. If he doesn’t get a deal next year the Rams can pay him 22 million which hurts their cap or try to sign him again. How did it work out for Curt Cousins who did the same thing? The Rams like the Skins did are playing a dangerous game and with the best defensive player in football.

  3. Funny, Silent Stan amassed a fortune marrying into the Walmart Family. And yes his real estate empire is based on finding locations for Walmart. I remember when he was a single store owner in Columbia, Missouri. A basic made for TV movie, truly a country bumpkin that married well.

    With all that money, fans of his franchises despise him. Ask those of Arsenal, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, St Louis Rams, and once the party is over yes….The LA Rams.
    With bone head moves with A.D. it won’t be long till the honeymoon is over.

  4. Rams are in Cap Hell in 3 years. They are ALL IN for this year and next, after that….they are in financial misery

  5. Best defensive player in football is not Donald. He didn’t get close to the two different QBs when Eagles visited Rams last year. Maybe he was tired. Take a look at Oakland LB Mack.

  6. AD is arguably the best defensive player in football. Kirk Cousins is average to above average starting NFL QB at best. That is not comparable. Rams are screwing this up. He should tell them to sign or trade him and if they start the regular season without him signed that he will never wear a Rams uniform again. He plays a position that an injury could derail his career. It is about guaranteed money. He has more than proved he should be the highest paid. If they don’t want to pay it trade him to someone that will.

  7. Bad companies treat their best employees poorly. Other (potential) employees take notice and choose not to work for those companies.

    Bad companies will always remain bad.

  8. Lifetime Ban For Kneelers says:
    July 29, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Rams are in Cap Hell in 3 years. They are ALL IN for this year and next, after that….they are in financial misery

    —————————-

    Not even close! This comment originally didn’t go through because (I think) I put a link to the “over the cap” website you can look up the details of their spending and future spending commitments. Look up “overthecap.com”

  9. Agree that he’s the best defensive player in the game today, but before he tells the Rams to either extend him or trade him he should call Earl Thomas and ask how that’s working for him.

  10. Do they have the money to sign him after their recent signing spree? If he’s asking for a multi-year deal starting at $20M and wants the first three guaranteed he may not get that after how the Suh signing worked out for the Dolphins. I don’t think Donald will turn into Albert Haynesworth so that might not be a bad deal to make. They shouldn’t give him a signing bonus though because then in two years he’ll complain about how his salary is so low.

  11. >PAY THIS MAN ALREADY!

    It’s not as simple as pay the man, there’s more to it than that.

    It’s being reported the Rams have offered Donald $21M/yr for 4 years which would make him the HIGHEST paid defensive player in league history but Donald’s side wants closer to $25M/yr. In other words, if true, Donald’s camp wants doesn’t want QB money, they want ELITE QB money.

    Jimmy GQ recently signed with SF and for a little while was the highest paid QB in the league at $27.5M/yr. So if the reports are true, then the difference between what Donald wants and what the now third highest paid QB in the league is getting would only be $2.5M/yr. At $25M/yr Donald would become the 6th highest paid QB in the league even though he’s a DT. He’d be making more than Aaron Rogers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, all Pro-Bowl QBs… he’d be making more than 27 starting QB’s.

    It’s not about just paying any amount a player wants because lets face it, players are extremely greedy. What they want when an agent starts whispering in their ear isn’t necessarily right or fair, it’s disproportionate to their team value and that’s what may be happening here.

    It’s about paying a fair amount to the player and fair to the organization so that it can still afford to sign a team that’s competitive. If the reports are true, what Donald wants would slant that ratio way out of proportion. Donald’s the best defensive player in the league and the Rams are willing to acknowledge that and are willing to pay him as the best defensive player in the league. But Donald’s not willing to accept that, he wants MUCH more than that.

    And hence, the impasse.

    Maybe it’s time to think about signing Suh to a long term contract and trading Donald. The value of a “best defensive player in the league” has to start with about 2 #1 draft picks I would think and possibly more.

    Maybe the Rams can pull a Gregg Popovich and send Kawhi err… Donald to Canada. Well, the NFL doesn’t have a Canadian team in the league but Buffalo’s close right?

  12. Rams are still doing things @ss backwards; not paying the guy who’s been the most faithful and tenured employee. If I were Donald, I’d ask for a trade to the Patriots. Even they know that they’d have to pay a stud like him and BB wouldn’t have any problem in doing that.

  13. .
    obviously they are a mess…
    who in their right mind would sign brandin cooks to a long term contract?

  14. Kroenke also didn’t amass billions by taking journalists’ advice. He knows what he’s doing; thanks for playing though.

  15. I still can’t believe they gave brandin cooks this man’s money. Coulda had a deal done if they valued the guy who got them here instead of a guy who just jumped on the wagon

  16. Earl Thomas is easily 5 years older than Aaron Donald, has a history of being injured and clearly is on the down side of his career. Donald on the other hand hasn’t entered his prime, hasn’t been injured and has to be accounted for on every defensive play. That being said, they’re not giving him massive money for a reason, and i doubt it has to do with the salary cap. They know this guy. I bet when he gets paid he will take the foot off the pedal, still being productive, but not nearly at the same level.

  17. I hope he sits out all season to be honest. The guy is a absolute game changer. He’s worth his asking price.
    _____________________________________________
    No, wants 25M/yr, 4 years with $80M guaranteed. He is a great player, arguably the best NFL defensive player, but the Rams are not going to give him 2nd tier QB money.

  18. They sure didn’t show him a lot of love when they signed Suh. That’s the fly in the ointment.

  19. Rate This

    jackedupboonie says:

    July 29, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Only in football do you get nickel and dimed for being best in the league. NBA or MLB teams would throw money at him right and left.

    ——

    Do you even know how money works in sports? Baseball doesn’t have a salary cap, so yes, teams could throw money at him. In the NBA he would get a max contract. Maybe he should have played baseball.

  20. “Funny, Silent Stan amassed a fortune marrying into the Walmart Family. And yes his real estate empire is based on finding locations for Walmart. I remember when he was a single store owner in Columbia, Missouri. A basic made for TV movie, truly a country bumpkin that married well. ”

    That’s funny. Now tell us how Georgia Frontiere, golden haired St Louis native, got control of the Rams.

  21. @realdealsteel
    Rams are still doing things @ss backwards; not paying the guy who’s been the most faithful and tenured employee. If I were Donald, I’d ask for a trade to the Patriots. Even they know that they’d have to pay a stud like him and BB wouldn’t have any problem in doing that.
    ————
    The Patriots? The Patriots are the least likely team to pay a stud player what he’s worth. The Patriots have made a business out of trading players like Donald when they reach “big contract” time for draft picks.

  22. NinersFan1973 says:
    July 29, 2018 at 2:59 pm
    If Brandin Cooks is worth $16M a year, then Donald is worth $20M.

    PAY. THE. MAN.

    ————
    Even if he wants $25M? I don’t think so

  23. According to over the cap, the Rams only have a little over $2M in cap space left.

    Explain how a new deal that takes him from $6M to $28M is going to fit? Do you assume he’ll be okay with a severely heavy backloaded deal?

  24. NinersFan1973 says:
    July 29, 2018 at 2:59 pm
    If Brandin Cooks is worth $16M a year, then Donald is worth $20M.

    PAY. THE. MAN

    —–

    The Rams OFFERED. THE. MAN. $21M/year and he declined. THE. MAN. wants over $26M/year.

  25. The Rams have already offered to make Donald the HIGHEST paid defensive player in league history at $21M/yr but he wants top-5 QB money. I think he’s got CTE from all that contact in the trenches. Does anyone know if there’s a way to test his brain for CTE while he’s still alive?

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