Amid the celebration and circumstance, Kroenke offered his analysis of the 2016 Rams team, Head Coach Jeff Fisher’s deserved extension and rookie QB Jared Goff. Alongside his team owner, DE Aaron Donald was asked if he would be a Ram in 2019 when the stadium opens. His answer was not, “yes.”
Will Aaron Donald be a Ram when the new stadium opens? "We gon' see." pic.twitter.com/AHuz6Qb1aH— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) November 18, 2016
“We gon’ see. Right now we worried about 2016.”
McVay officially rules Donald out for Sunday. “It’s safe to say he won’t be a part of this game.”— Joe Curley (@vcsjoecurley) September 8, 2017
And here we are. The best player in the NFL is holding out against reporting to one of the worst teams creating a perhaps irreconcilable standoff.
From a fans perspective, it’s relatively simple. If you believe that Aaron Donald for all his talents should be treated like a normal player and that the Rams should be treated like a normal franchise, then it’s easy to support the team in asking him to return and play out his current contract as well as what has been rumored to be fair contract offers for his talents. If you believe he should be treated as an exception given his talent (and age) and that the Rams are in no position to bargain as if they are a standard NFL entity, then it’s hard not to support Donald getting every dollar and contractual extraction he can.
From a football perspective? It just sucks.
Aaron Donald is the best player the Rams have had since RB Steven Jackson in his prime. His three NFL seasons have him on the early trajectory toward a Hall of Fame career. And yet now as we head into the regular season when the football actually matters, he’s not going to play a single down.
It’s sad, really.
One day, we’ll find out what has happened in the last 10 months, what negotiations really took place. We’ll hear from both sides and be able to put together some kind of picture as to why Donald went from a casual smirk last November to the accepted absence of OTAs to the cardinal sin of regular season holdout.
In June, Pro Football Focus rated Aaron Donald the #1 overall player in the NFL. That all of us may be bereft of being able to see the best football player on the planet in his prime?
That’s a loss for every NFL fan.