Rams, Steelers taking very different approaches with high-profile holdouts

Mike Florio
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

At a time when the Steelers repeatedly are squeezing running back Le'Veon Bell to show up for training camp, the Rams are applying a much different approach to defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

Appearing on Thursday’s PFT Live, Rams G.M. Les Snead declined to characterize Donald’s expectations for a new contract, praised his ability to disrupt an offensive line even during OTA sessions, and said nothing about Donald’s ability to be ready for the season based on his decision to boycott practices and preseason games. And Snead would have every right to pressure Donald.

Donald, unlike Bell, is under contract. He’s violating the contract by not being at camp. The Rams have every right to chastise him for not being there, but they’re not.

Bell isn’t under contract. He’s merely exercise the rights that the Steelers gave him by exercising their right to apply the franchise tag. And yet the Steelers are now consistently calling him out for not showing up.

Some will say that people like G.M. Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin are merely answering the questions they’re asked, but Snead could use that same excuse as cover for lambasting Donald, if he wanted.

The end game for Donald is less clear than it is for Bell. At a salary of $12.1 million this year, Bell likely will show up in time to cash every check, even if he isn’t prepared for Week One. Donald, at a salary of only (only?) $1.8 million, would be losing less by skipping games.

Here’s another big difference between the two: The Steelers could still yank the $12.1 million offer, at any point before Bell signs it. If, as it appears, they aren’t willing to offer him more money or any other inducement to get him to show up and if, as it appears, Bell isn’t willing to show up without it, the exasperation that comes through in comments from Colbert and Tomlin could morph into a decision to pocket the $12.1 million and wish Bell luck in his effort to get a similar deal in early September.

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