August 7 deadline likely won’t make a difference for Aaron Donald

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The holdout continues for Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, thanks to (as recently explained by Rams COO Kevin Demoff) a fundamental disagreement between what the player wants and what the team will pay.

A key deadline for Donald is coming in two days, but that deadline isn’t likely to get him to cave.

The CBA provides that any player under contract who doesn’t report to camp by the 30th day before the start of the regular season does not acquire a year of credit toward free agency. Donald, who is entering his fifth NFL season, has only three years of credit toward free agency, because he held out into September last year. Thus, if he doesn’t show up by Tuesday, August 7 (30 days before the September 6 regular-season opener between the Falcons and Eagles), Donald will be stuck at three years of credit toward free agency, keeping him from becoming an unrestricted free agent in March.

So, coach Sean McVay, do you think Donald will show up in order to get his key fourth year of credit toward free agency?

“You know, I’m not really sure,” McVay told reporters on Saturday. “We’re scheduled to meet together with [General Manager] Les [Snead], Kevin, myself and Tony [Pastoors] tonight to discuss kind of where we are at. There really hasn’t been much progress in terms of the dialogue since camp. I know that we’re very intentional about trying to get him here, love to have him.”

They’d love to have him, but on their terms. And the August 7 deadline won’t make a difference, because Donald’s three years of credit toward free agency still make him eligible for restricted free agency. Which means that the Rams can either apply the highest level of RFA tender, which would give them a right to match an offer sheet from another team and a first-round pick as compensation if they don’t, or use the franchise tag. Given that plenty of other teams (especially those picking late in round one) would gladly give up a first-round draft pick to get Donald, the Rams will be using the franchise tag, regardless of whether Donald is restricted or unrestricted.

The far more relevant deadline comes on Thursday, August 9, when Donald skips L.A.’s game at Baltimore — and potentially loses more than $400,000 under an obscure CBA provision that sets the fine for players in their fifth-year options at one regular-season game check for each preseason game missed. Last year, the Rams waived the daily training-camp fines that Donald racked up during an extended holdout. This year, the stakes will be higher, thanks to more than $3.2 million in potential fines if Donald once again shows up on the eve of Week One.

Either way, Donald and the Rams remain dug in, and the real question is whether, unlike last year, his holdout will linger into the regular season, which starts with a Monday night game against the Raiders.

25 responses to “August 7 deadline likely won’t make a difference for Aaron Donald

  1. Won’t pay their best player but throwing stacks of cash at guys that haven’t played a game for them

  2. The teams are well within their rights to fine players who holdout.
    The teams use the fines as leverage for other negotiating points in the contract. So if Donald doesn’t want to have to pay the fines, he’ll have to concede some other points/clauses/stipulations to the Rams.

  3. “Won’t pay their best player but throwing stacks of cash at guys that haven’t played a game for them”

    Yeah, they improved their team. How dare they.

  4. His only bet is to bet on himself. He may loose money tomorrow but the days thereafter when he finally gets his bag will more then make up for it. Collectively the players would have some much leverage if they ever stood together but realistically because the life span of a football player is so short all would not tow the line unless funds were set aside for those that sacrifice lengthy hold-out.

  5. I don’t understand how the Rams can over pay the mercenary’s they brought in and then attempt to sell short one of their own who also happens to be the best defensive player in football. Not only is Aaron Donald a great player he is a great guy and leader on a team lacking leadership. The Rams on paper look good bit I’ve seen paper tigers go up in smoke many times.

  6. So fans and the media are playing the “you paid this player but not that player” game.
    If the Rams had paid Donald first then do you think Gurley’s deal would have been as big? Nope.
    Do you think that teams have 100s of millions of dollars laying around just to pay these massive signing bonuses to entitled & pampered players? Believe it or not, NFL teams have other overhead that they must account for.
    The agents for Gurley & Cooks were smart to strike while the money is available for large signing bonuses.

  7. “Not only is Aaron Donald a great player he is a great guy and leader on a team lacking leadership. ”

    He’s a great player. He’s not a leader.

    How do you expect young players to learn anything about what it means to be a pro when Donald is sitting home all offseason. They can’t learn anything from that.

    Andrew Whitworth is a leader. Todd Gurley is a leader. Choke on your breakfast if you want, but Aqib Talib is a leader, I’ve seen it. Our “mercenaries” are in camp. Our “team leader” isn’t.

  8. Rate This

    dryzzt23 says:

    August 5, 2018 at 9:55 am

    So fans and the media are playing the “you paid this player but not that player” game.
    If the Rams had paid Donald first then do you think Gurley’s deal would have been as big? Nope.
    Do you think that teams have 100s of millions of dollars laying around just to pay these massive signing bonuses to entitled & pampered players? Believe it or not, NFL teams have other overhead that they must account for.
    The agents for Gurley & Cooks were smart to strike while the money is available for large signing bonuses.

    —–

    Entitled and pampered? Aaron Donald has been a first team all pro 3 years in a row. His ENTIRE contract was worth 10 mil. They just gave Suh 14 mil for 1 year.

  9. I understand both sides of this but didn’t he hold out last year too. Why doesn’t he finish the contract he has and become a free agent when he is entitled to be a free agent. I will be more sympathetic when he at least finishes his first contract. He is the best defensive player and is grossly underpaid at just under 7M but… he is under contract and there is a salary cap.

  10. motleytrap says:
    August 5, 2018 at 9:20 am
    “Won’t pay their best player but throwing stacks of cash at guys that haven’t played a game for them”

    Yeah, they improved their team. How dare they.

    =======================

    thats debateable. brandin cooks is not as special as many think. did u guys see his rotary route in the SB? he looked like he had no clue where on the field he was. IN THE SUPER BOWL. LOL. so well see. im not buying the rams hype though. i will say the best player they added was talib. hes insane at cornerback. peters is a head case. suh is suh. space jammer not much else.

  11. “brandin cooks is not as special as many think. did u guys see his rotary route in the SB? he looked like he had no clue where on the field he was. IN THE SUPER BOWL. LOL”

    OK, so the Super Bowl wasn’t his best game. I saw him in the AFC Championship Game where he had 100 yards receiving and the Jags defenders were flagged for 68 yards in penalties trying to guard him. Does that not count for anything anymore?

    Whatever Suh or Talib have left in the tank, they’re both starters with the Rams along with Cooks and Peters because they’re better than what the Rams had before.

  12. “Why doesn’t he finish the contract he has and become a free agent when he is entitled to be a free agent.”

    He doesn’t even need to. He’s got a substantial contract offer on the table waiting for him. His agents are trying to squeeze the Rams for something no defensive player has ever gotten before.

  13. >I don’t understand how the Rams can over pay the mercenary’s they brought in and then attempt to sell short one of their own who also happens to be the best defensive player in football.

    Let me break it down for you…

    It’s been reported the Rams have made Donald an offer of 4-years $21M/yr which would make him the HIGHEST paid defensive player in NFL HISTORY!

    But that’s not enough for Donald.

    He wants $25M/yr which is ELITE QB money. At that figure, he’d be the 6th highest paid QB in the league even though he plays DT. Let that figure sit in your noggin for a bit to percolate… SIXTH HIGHEST PAID QB!

    He’d be making more than Aaron Rogers, Tom Brady Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, all PRO BOWL QB’s.

    The Rams just made Todd Gurley the Highest paid RB in the NFL. Is he worth it?… you bet he is, everybody saw what he could do in a REAL NFL offense last year. The Rams gave up a #1 draft pick and just made Brandon Cooks one of the highest paid WR’s in the game. They tried to get him LAST YEAR but didn’t have a #1 pick so had to wait for this year. Is he worth it? Obviously, the Rams think so.

    It’s clear the Rams are really taking care of their players but there’s more players they still need to take care of such as Marcus Peters, LaMarcus Joyner, Jared Goff will be coming up in a couple years, Aquib Taleb’s only signed through this year, 3 of their starting offensive linemen contracts will expire after the season – Saffold, Havenstein, Brown. Donald’s NOT the only Ram on the roster, he’s 1 of 53.

    Is making Donald the HIGHEST paid defensive player in NFL History taking care of him? Most people would say they are. Signing Donald to HIS number, a number that is unreasonable would affect the Rams ability to continue to remain competitive in that it would cost them a player or more.

    Are the Rams supposed to sign Donald for ELITE QB money at the expense of Marcus Peters? or a LaMarcus Joyner, or perhaps 2 of their starting offensive linemen? For no other reason than “he wants it”? We’re not talking about DESERVE because the Rams are willing to pay for what he deserves – the HIGHEST paid defensive player in NFL History. No, we’re talking about a number because he wants it.

    The Rams can hardball him if they want, they can make him play this year for his 5th year contract number which is $6.9M and then tag tag tag him 3x all of which would cost the organization about $20M LESS than what is rumored they’ve already offered.

    And what’s Donald going to do? Sit out the NEXT 4-years, his PRIME earning years in protest?

    Another offer would be to trade Donald, collect a pair of #1’s (maybe more) and then re-sign Suh to some of that money that has been budgeted to re-sign Donald. The net effect would be you might be a little less strong on the defensive line but you could re-sign Peters long-term (maybe 1 or 2 more) and would have at MINIMUM a pair of #1’s to add into your draft capital which would secure the franchise’s ability to remain competitively strong for years to come.

    So there it is, if you’re the organization are you going to bow to a player’s greed no matter how good he is and that would cost you a very good player, maybe more? Or do you stand your ground knowing you can hardball him and keep control of him for the next 4-years while keeping the core of the team intact for multiple playoff runs?

    It’s not about just giving him what he wants, it’s about the long term health of the team.

  14. thejetssuck2001 says:
    August 5, 2018 at 10:38 am

    thats debateable. brandin cooks is not as special as many think. did u guys see his rotary route in the SB? he looked like he had no clue where on the field he was. IN THE SUPER BOWL. LOL. so well see. im not buying the rams hype though. i will say the best player they added was talib. hes insane at cornerback. peters is a head case. suh is suh. space jammer not much else.
    _________________________________________________

    Well I guess everything is debatable and the evaluation is subjective but I think I would be ok losing the starting CB and replacing him with Marcus Peters and Talib. I also don’t know who Suh is replacing but he is better. Watkins has been disappointing his entire career so replacing him with Cooks isn’t likely a step backwards but that’s just my opinion. After Checking Donalds numbers though… he is grossly underpaid. If he reports he is going to get paid half (7M) of what Mack is scheduled to be paid (14M) if he reports. Donald has more a case on holding out than Mack does. Mack is looking at being already one of the highest paid defensive players at his position.. There are only a few making more than he does at his position. He deserves more money but his case isn’t as egregious as Donald’s.

  15. For those that are saying that the Rams aren’t trying to pay their best player, should look more into it before spewing nonsense. The Rams have had a contract on the table for a while; that would make Aaron Donald the highest paid defensive player not only in annual salary but also in guaranteed money, but Donald and his representatives want him to receive quarterback money.

  16. Patrick says: August 5, 2018 at 9:11 am
    “Won’t pay their best player but throwing stacks of cash at guys that haven’t played a game for them”

    They tried to pay him and he turned it down, he’s greedy he wants top 10 QB so let his ass sit!

  17. The Rams hold all the cards here. The article says that they can put the highest round tender on him, but in actuality they can put the “original round tender” on him which is one of the lowest levels someone can use. He can then go get an offer sheet, and the Rams can either match it, or the other team needs to pony up a ton of money AND a first round pick for him. and if they still don’t get a deal done, they can franchise him 2 years in a row for about $32 million total. At which point he will be 30. So in three years he’ll make a total of $34 million, or sign a deal that makes him (reportedly) $63 million over that same timeframe.

  18. bondlake says:
    August 5, 2018 at 9:06 am
    Why have fines if you forgive them all the time?

    —-

    All the time? Author said last time. It’s like when a cop gives you a warning for speeding. It is called discretion. I for one have been very appreciative of that through the years.

  19. Darnold, just like any other defensive player in the league (including Von Miller, Khalil Mack, Jadeveon Clowney, and Earl Thomas), cannot get his team to the playoffs on his own. In contrast, a quarterback like Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers rarely misses the playoffs, even if their defenses are mediocre. That is why it is nuts to pay a defensive player top quarterback type money.

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