The Los Angeles Rams are engaged in a high stakes game of Chicken with Aaron Donald. With no indication he’ll be in uniform soon, It may be a sign the team is dug in for the long haul.
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald appears content to remain away from the team even as the opener is only 12 days away.
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Ironically, so do the Rams.
As both Donald and Los Angeles are now mutually engaged in a game of “chicken,” the question of when he may actually get back to work takes on a greater sense of urgency. But with the opener less than two weeks out, it seems unlikely Donald plays Week 1.
This courtesy of Mike Florio and Pro Football Talk:
"“We haven’t received any word like that,” coach Sean McVay told reporters on Sunday. “Right now, that dialogue is ongoing. I know we had some meetings and discussions with their representation and that’s something that we’re working through to try and get figured out as soon as possible.”"
To listen to a media who has a conflicted opinion, trying to decide who has the “leverage” in this negotiation is a tough call. But one consideration that may extend the stalemate is the general consensus of how good the Rams are projected to be in 2017. While the one half of a solid performance in Oakland by second year quarterback Jared Goff cranked up the anticipation, a less than impressive outing against the Los Angeles Chargers provided the counterbalance.
Despite the public spin by the LA war room, the betting odds are that the Rams resemble a team more resembling the under .500 team fans and NFL watchers have come to expect. While picking Los Angeles to be an NFC West dark horse is somewhat over the top, anywhere from 4-12 to 6-10 is more reasonable. And as I have written, even an optimistic, corner turning, Goff improving, 4-12 or 5-11 will be a good season in LA.
But as those negotiations are now looking to take the long road and going nowhere fast, what is the urgency for the Rams to get Donald back on the field, if he doesn’t really affect the balance of the season record? His defensive leadership will keep LA in a lot of games, but will he win one for them?
This year is the 16 game audition for Goff, and this team hired a head coach, built a staff, and drafted offensive weapons to put him in a position to succeed. Goff being better IS the overriding priority in 2017. Donald holding out is only a roster distraction. Don’t fool yourself in thinking otherwise.
Misunderstanding aside, Donald is the signature star on this Rams team TODAY, but Los Angeles needs Goff to be “the guy” moving forward.
The former only requires solving a contract dispute with a really great defensive tackle.
Don’t confuse the importance of the difference.