The Los Angeles Rams welcomed Sean McVay as their new head coach this offseason, hoping he could help spearhead a new era for the team in its second year in Los Angeles. But the youngest head coach in league history has had to start that process without his best player, and it looks like things may continue that way.
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald has held out of Rams training camp over contract disputes, and that holdout could continue into the regular season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports:
Per Schefter, one source “speculated that he could envision Donald sitting out 2017” but admitted that “a lot can change in any negotiation in a hurry.” Generally, though, there is pessimism about a deal being done any time soon, and both sides, while still in touch, remain far apart in their negotiations.
Donald has been one of the best defensive players in the league since he was drafted three years ago out of the University of Pittsburgh. The 2014 NFL AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, Donald has amassed 28 sacks and 163 total tackles in his professional career, making the Pro Bowl each season. Few players can occupy space in the middle and rush the passer like he can. He was present at mandatory minicamp in June but hasn’t been with the team since.
Donald is due $1.8 million this year and $6.8 million next year, per Spotrac. Those two salaries make up the final two years of his rookie deal. Donald feels he deserves a bigger contract, one that reflects his age (26) and very high level of play better than his current deal does. In early August, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that Donald could be fined up to $40,000 for every day of training camp missed. In the regular season, Donald also brings in a weekly game check of $105,000. Whether he feels his holdout for a bigger contract is worth not collecting those gameday checks remains to be determined.
The Rams start their regular season Sept. 10 against Indianapolis.