Through the first couple of months of the offseason, the Los Angeles Rams have had star defensive tackle Aaron Donald’s contract situation hanging over the franchise. There has yet to be any significant movement toward a new extension in the last few months as training camp nears.
The Rams have continued to voice optimism about the situation but that hasn’t equated to things being worked out just yet. According to Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network, Donald is expected to stay away from the team during the upcoming voluntary team workouts without his new deal in place:
From Up to the Minute Live: #Falcons WR Julio Jones is among those not expected to be at OTAs, sources say, after being in and out last year. He also wants an update to his contract. Considering the kind of teammate he is, it sounds like the team is willing to consider it. pic.twitter.com/PulYkczo57
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 18, 2018
“Aaron Donald has been staying away in Pittsburgh training. Another player who wants a new deal. Richly deserves a new deal that they haven’t come to together on yet. He’s also expected to stay away.”
This isn’t necessarily the best news for the Rams, but it shouldn’t draw any level of concern from the franchise. These are voluntary workouts that don’t particularly need Donald to be present at the moment. It also helps that he’s staying in excellent shape with his training in Pittsburgh in the meantime.
Los Angeles has a clear and strong desire to eventually get a long-term deal done with the 26-year-old. Donald has developed into arguably the best defensive player in the league behind his impressive first four years in the league. During that stretch, he earned first NFL Defensive Player of the Year award this past season along with four consecutive Pro Bowl selection, and third three straight All-Pro First Team nod.
He also holds the Rams record for most sacks (39.0) by a defensive tackle and is the only player at his position with at least eight sacks in each of his first four years since the 1982 season. Ultimately, the longer the situation lingers on the longer Donald may stay away from the team until a new deal is in place.