The Los Angeles Rams and star DL Aaron Donald are at an impasse.
The Rams don’t value him as much as the market would. Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Kevin Demoff confirmed as much in a recent interview by saying the two sides “just don’t agree” on his value.
For Donald’s part, he’s stuck playing far below that market value. For someone that many have suggested could receive a deal somewhere in the realm of making $25m per year, he played for less than $4m last year and will play for less than $7m this year. That’s more than $40m of potential earnings Donald has lost by being stuck under his rookie contract and the fifth-year option.
And so his holdout for the second year has intensified. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last month that “some around the league” believe that Donald won’t play another down until he receives a new deal. This of course obscures the motivation that all around the league except for the Rams HOPE he won’t play another down until he received a new deal...or even thereafter. Not long after, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported that the deadline for Donald to show up to receive an accrued season to become an unrestricted free agent next season wouldn’t matter much to either party as (a) he’d still command a huge deal as a restricted free agent anyway and (b) the Rams are seemingly intent to franchise tag him anyway.
That deadline to show up to make 2018 an accrued season?
And so ESPN’s Adam Schefter took the Twitters to update things this morning noting that Donald remains committed to not playing. He remains committed to becoming a restricted free agent next offseason. And the Rams remain committed to franchising him:
Rams DT Aaron Donald has until Tuesday to report to camp or he will lose an accrued season and become a restricted free agent after this season, as opposed to an RFA. Saying that, Donald doesn’t care whether he’s an RFA or UFA; he’s determined not to play until he has a new deal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 6, 2018
If not in by Tuesday, Aaron Donald will become a restricted free agent after this season, NOT an unrestricted free agent. All irrelevant being that the Rams still would franchise tag him either way. https://t.co/DV2WNBomSJ— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 6, 2018
As the Southern California News Group’s Rich Hammond explained, it’s gonna cost him:
The biggest new negative for Aaron is that now he can be fined some major money. He could be on the hook for $80k for minicamp, $30k for each day of training camp and, for missed preseason games, 1/17th of his ($6.892 million) base salary, based on my understanding.— Rich Hammond (@Rich_Hammond) August 6, 2018
Donald wants to be paid more. He deserves to be paid more. But the Rams aren’t willing to pay him more than they suggest he’s worth which would still make him the highest-paid defender in the NFL.
And Rams fans are growing increasingly torn between calls to #paytheman for what he’s accomplished and suggestions that greed is keeping him from re-joining the team in the middle of a seemingly Hall of Fame-caliber career.
Time to brush up on your zugzwang strategies.
In the meantime...someone go get him.
(UPDATED at 7:06pm ET)
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Donald aint comin.
This could last a while...
Even though Aaron Donald would have to report to Rams’ camp by Tuesday to make sure this counts as an accrued season and he wouldn’t be a restricted free agent next off-season, he has no plans to rejoin the team, per sources. He will not be there Tuesday, nor anytime soon.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 6, 2018