Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald was a no-show at the Los Angeles Rams’ first full-team organized team activities on Monday, but his absence was contract-related.
Rams general manager Les Snead said Aaron deserves a raise a few months ago. Now the 3-year vet from the University of Pittsburgh is taking a rightful stand until he gets one.
“We were aware he wasn’t going to be here,” Snead said, adding, “It had something to do with the contract. I can tell you this: We’re definitely at the serious stage of renegotiating.” Really?
Donald, who hired Five Star Athlete Management, is in the fourth year of his five-year rookie contract, he is due to earn $1.8 million in salary and $1.4 million in bonuses this season as part of the rookie contract he signed after the Rams made him the 13th pick in the 2014 draft.
In April, the Rams exercised a fifth-year option that will pay Donald about $6.9 million in 2018 if they cannot agree to a long-term deal.
But Donald, who turned 26 years-old on Tuesday, is positioned to possibly become the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player.
Fellow defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (hired CAA Sports) signed a 6 year, $102,600,000 contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, including a $26,000,000 signing bonus, $63,299,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $17,100,000.
Defensive end J.J. Watt (also hired CAA Sports) signed a 6 year / $100,005,425 contract with the Houston Texans, including a $10,000,000 signing bonus, $51,876,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $16,667,571.
The 6-foot-1, 285-pound Donald has become one of the league’s most disruptive players. He was the 2014 defensive rookie of the year and has amassed 28 sacks in three seasons, eight last season. Donald has been a Pro Bowl selection in each of his three NFL seasons. In 2017, he started all 16 games and recorded 47 tackles, eight sacks, five passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Snead and the Rams organization don’t have to think long and to calculate his value on the team and how much he is worth.
The Rams are scheduled to hold a mandatory minicamp June 13-15.
Players cannot be fined for missing voluntary workouts. But they can be docked more than $70,000 for missing a three-day minicamp.
“I hope he gets what he wants,” Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson said of Donald, “and that he comes back soon.”
Johnson’s contract situation also remains in flux.
The Rams put the franchise tag on Johnson for the second year in a row, giving the sixth-year pro a salary of nearly $17 million this season.
The Rams made Johnson available in trades before the NFL draft but found no takers. He reiterated Monday that he would like to remain with the Rams, who have until July 15 to work out a long-term contract.
Snead continued to say that the Rams would wait until OTAs are complete before making a determination about Johnson.
The Rams have a little more than $2 million below the salary cap, according to overthecap.com.
The Rams have other players in line for extensions, including linebacker Alec Ogletree.
“When you have a 53-man roster, you’ve got to be able to juggle a few balls in the air,” Snead said. “It’s not just one person, it’s a team.”
Yep, the Los Angeles Rams have a lot on their plate when it comes to players on their payroll among other things and I agree with Snead’s last statement, but you better make sure you keep focus on that Aaron Donald ball because if that one doesn’t stay in the air, the other “balls” will notice and you will end up with a lot of dropped ones and the Rams can’t afford to let that happen.