The Los Angeles Rams began training camp Friday but were without star defensive lineman Aaron Donald who opted for a no-show.
We’ve all witnessed this scenario before. A player is unhappy with their contract and decides to hold out of training camp to gain leverage. That seems to be the case between Aaron Donald and the Rams. L.A.’s camp began Friday and to the team’s surprise, Donald did not report due to a contract dispute.
Donald is one of the Rams’ best players and is one of the better defensive linemen in the league. With two years left on his contract, Donald is looking for an extension that will make him one of the highest -paid defensive players in the NFL. He is going to make a base salary of $1.8 million this season and because L.A. picked up his fifth-year option he’s on pace to earn $6.9 million in 2018.
Head coach Sean McVay will have to navigate his first training camp without one of the league’s most dominant players but doesn’t seem fazed by it. Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times quoted McVay on the issue.
“We knew this was a potential possibility for us, and we’re constantly going through trying to get a solution to this,” McVay said, adding, “His resume speaks for itself, but in the NFL, whatever it is, adversity is inevitable and we’ve got to be ready to handle that as a team and we’ll move forward accordingly.”
So for the Rams it’s business as usual as the team prepares for their season opener September 10 against the Indianapolis Colts. But what will happen with Donald is still uncertain.
With 2017 Rams Training Camp set to start get an inside look as veteran players arrive in Irvine.
In June Donald attended L.A.’s mandatory minicamp but did not participate in any drills or activities. By doing so he avoided being fined $80,000. However, for every day he misses of training camp he can be fined $40,000. Being fined seems to be counterproductive when fighting for more money, but for players holding out is a matter of principle.
For those that holding out works for, it’s worth it in the end because a shiny new contract worth millions will make up for the few thousands lost by being a training camp no-show.
As of now there is no end to Donald’s hold-out in sight, which will depend on future negotiations between him and the Rams. Despite this he has the support of his teammates. Veteran linebacker Robert Quinn said,
“He’s just going through a tough little situation right now. … The guys have his back and once he finally decides to come out here we’d love to see his face and take it from there.”
So when Donald and L.A. do reach an agreement it’ll be back to business for the whole team. Hopefully, they’ll give him the deal he deserves sooner than later because the rest of the roster is looking forward to his return.