Aaron Donald isn’t leaving any room for confusion. He’s not going to play another down for the Rams unless he gets a new contract.
Any Rams fans hoping that Aaron Donald’s status with the team is going to be resolved quickly need to think again. He isn’t planning on a Julio Jones style holdout. Instead, Donald is adamant that he won’t play another snap for the team until he gets a new, big money contract.
It’s hard to blame Donald for taking this position. He’s one of the best defensive players in the NFL regardless of position. Calling him a top defensive tackle doesn’t do his game justice. He’s the sort of player that opposing offensive coordinators have to game plan against.
Players like Donald deserve to be compensated according to their impact on the game. He’s certainly worth more than the $6.9 million and change the Rams owe him in the fifth year of his rookie contract in 2018. On the open market, Donald could expect to triple that salary.
The Rams don’t necessarily need to pay him as if he was an unrestricted free agent, but the front office should come pretty close. Donald isn’t someone the team can replace via free agency or the draft without a great deal of good fortune. Again, we’re talking about a generational talent.
At this point it’s fair to wonder whether or not the Rams front office saw this coming. Some have speculated the team’s decision to sign Ndamukong Suh as a free agent might have been to protect the team against a protracted holdout from Donald.
If that’s the Rams’ line of thinking it’s a very flawed plan. Suh is a terrific talent in his own right, but he isn’t in Donald’s league. His propensity to freelance makes it difficult to rely on him to anchor the middle of your defense.
This is a situation where Sean McVay needs to step it and help get a deal done. He knows his team has Super Bowl potential this season, but they aren’t going to win a title without a happy and productive Donald wreaking havoc on the opposition. Donald means business with his holdout and it’s time for the Rams to get serious too. If they don’t give him the money he wants and deserves, they may not see him all season.