The Los Angeles Rams are hoping to have Aaron Donald for the season opener on September 10. After discussions yesterday, that doesn’t seem likely.
While new head coach Sean McVay seemed optimistic on Thursday night that Donald would be ready, or at least back Week 1 for the season opener, reports are that Los Angeles and the DT’s reps are still far apart in working out a new deal for the team’s best player.
Pro Football Talk is reporting that according to league sources, the Rams and Donald are negotiating but are “not close” on a deal.
Donald has two season remaining on a rookie deal that does no favors to those who overachieve, but protect teams from those who are quick to the bust column.
The Rams DT is scheduled to make $17 million over the course of his first five seasons of his career. Los Angeles will pay him $1.8 million this year, and $6.8 million next season. Beyond that, the team would be forced to go the franchise tag route.
There is no denying three things: Donald may be the best defensive tackle in the league. He IS the best player wearing a Rams uniform. He is NOT however, the most critically needed player in Los Angeles.
Facts are facts, and they seldom care about fans feelings.
Yes, he is the best player on a Rams roster that is loaded with young talent. But Donald does not throw the ball, hand the ball to Todd Gurley, or make the LA offense run. He’ll be impactful keeping them in games, maybe even in forcing a turnover that leads to a late win, but that’s where his influence ends.
But, the optics are detrimental to a Rams organization needing to dot all the “I’s” and cross all the “T’s” in a do-over season in Los Angeles. GM Les Snead needs to find a way to get this done, and hopefully sooner rather than later.
As for Donald, the Rams, and leverage? Fans won’t care much if this team is winning, but they’ll care alot if they are losing.
Problem is when you’re playing chicken, you never really know until it’s too late.