The Los Angeles Rams have begun the third phase of OTAs that had one notable player absent from the mix in star defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year is still without a new extension in place as he enters the fifth-year option of his rookie deal.
This has placed some questions regarding when a new contract will be worked out with Donald. Hall of Famer and former Rams great Eric Dickerson chose the opportune time to chime in social media to wish the Pro Bowler a happy 27th birthday while voicing he hopes he gets a “record-breaking” deal:
Happy Birthday @AaronDonald97! We’re all hoping the @RamsNFL give you a record breaking present. I’m really proud of you for handling yourself in a 1st class manner throughout this entire process. The players and fans are 100% behind you. We really appreciate you#Rambassador
— Eric Dickerson (@EricDickerson) May 23, 2018
The public support from Dickerson is a welcoming sight, but that doesn’t appear to be swaying things in the right direction toward a new extension being put into place. Donald has put together an impressive first four seasons in the league where he has established himself as arguably the best defensive player while earning his NFL Defensive Player of the Year award this past season along with four consecutive Pro Bowl selections 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. All of his has fully ingrained him as the anchor defensively for the team that is only entering the prime of his career.
Donald has more than performed at a level that should put him in line to earn a lucrative long-term contract that would make him the highest-paid defensive player in the league. The longer this situation lingers on, the more questions will arise around his long-term future in Los Angeles. Only time will tell if something will get worked out ahead of the 2018 season.