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In a game of chicken, neither the Rams nor Donald can win.

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  • In a game of chicken, neither the Rams nor Donald can win.

    A lot of the commentary on the Aaron Donald contract situation is based upon assumptions, rather than facts. Some assume that the Rams have not offered Donald his "market value," and that the should just "pay the man." Others assume that Donald is being unreasonable and should "just sign already." I think most of us have been guilty of making these types of assumptions to some degree because, as fans, we just want to see a deal get done.

    The reality, however, is that we don't know what is being discussed behind closed doors.

    Here is what we do know:

    1. Donald's rookie contract runs for two years (including the option year), through the 2019 season [as Nick pointed out, this is not correct - see below.]
    2. Once his contract runs out, the Rams have the ability to retain him under the franchise tag for up to 3 years (through the 2022 season); and
    3. Though he ultimately reported and played, Donald has demonstrated the willingness to miss all of training camp and preseason, and two regular season games, in a contract holdout.

    In light of these facts, its irrational for either side to take a completely hard-line stance. If Donald does so, the Rams can keep him locked up for the prime years of his career without giving him a long-term contract. If the Rams do, Donald can continue to disrupt the team by refusing to go to training camp and holding out into the season.

    Of the two, the Rams have greater leverage, as Donald would feel the pain of fines/salary loss if he holds out. Nonetheless, he is not without significant leverage (including that which comes from the potential that fans will blame the team if he's not on the field).

    The two sides need to figure this out and come up with a "fair" solution. The Rams need to accept that Donald is going to command a very large piece of the cap, as his play merits such a payday. Donald needs to accept that he's not a quarterback, and that, as great as he is, the Rams need to save money for other great players.

    NFL contract mediation services... that could be a good vocation.... hmmm.....
    Last edited by AvengerRam; -06-12-2018, 01:32 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
    1. Donald's rookie contract runs for two years (including the option year), through the 2019 season;
    Actually, I believe Donald is in the final year of his deal. The 2018 season is the fifth year option year, so he's scheduled for free agency after this season (unless he holds out deep into August and loses an accrued year).

    I agree with your overall point, though - whatever the hold up is, it's hard to imagine how either side is benefiting when it comes to better leverage in negotiations. Since very little has been said about the status of negotiations in the public domain, we're short of information, which propagates assumptions about what the holdup is about. I guess Donald not participating in activities is a good thing for him so that he doesn't pull a Morgan Fox and suffer a significant injury, and he showed last year that he could skip camp and not really miss a beat.

    I do hope this situation resolves itself with a long term deal, sooner rather than later. I don't want another Trumaine situation on our hands, and the years of tagging Orlando Pace back to back and wondering if a deal would ever get done were not fun to go through.
    Last edited by Nick; -06-12-2018, 01:27 PM.

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    • #3
      I read somewhere that he wants an opt-out clause in the new contract and believe this is the real hold up as that would push all the leverage away from the Rams.

      __________________________________________________________
      Keeping the Rams Nation Talking

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      • #4
        Nick is correct on the K detail. The point is essentially the same, though... the Rams can keep him from UFA status for several years if they are willing to use the franchise tag.

        If what Dez was describing is correct, I would definitely side with the Rams. What possible reason would a team have to pay premium $ without the benefit of keeping the player from being able to test the market over the next several seasons?


        Last edited by AvengerRam; -06-12-2018, 02:56 PM.

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        • #5
          If it is deemed necessary for him to have an opt-out clause...there must be a HUGE clawback. Or else this is just ridiculous.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
            If what Dez was describing is correct, I would definitely side with the Rams. What possible reason would a team have to pay premium $ without the benefit of keeping the player from being able to test the market over the next several seasons?
            Yeah, talk about a deal breaker. If Donald stands firm on an opt-out clause AND QB type money, I don't see the Rams biting, nor should they IMO. Hopefully, it doesn't get to a standoff over an opt-out.

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            • #7
              I predict AD gets roped into Rams service until he escapes home to Pittsburg in about 3 years.
              Semper Fi!

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              • #8
                Wonder why he'd want an opt-out clause.

                Still not sure I'd pay him anything over 15m a year. That's a lot of money for one defender, even if he is the best in the league. Give him QB money and you might be scraping for pennies to actually pay a QB, or a RB or some offensive linemen... or that db we traded for.

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                • #9
                  I would be bummed if an opt-out clause is the sticking point. As Richbert88 says, that likely means he really, really wants to play for that AFC team.
                  “Oh, 100 percent,” Donald said. “I feel like the words, ‘Thank you,’ ain’t enough. You’ve got to show it... Instead of saying thank you — show it.”

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                  • #10
                    Iíd assume he wants the opt-out clause so he can renegotiate and remain the top paid defensive player as the salary cap increases.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
                      Iíd assume he wants the opt-out clause so he can renegotiate and remain the top paid defensive player as the salary cap increases.
                      I'd say that's about right. He wants the ability to renegotiate as the market moves. Of course, that pretty well scraps the whole idea of security from a contract, at least on the Rams side.

                      Or maybe (and I'm probably just being too optimistic here, but...) his side is throwing the opt-out clause on the table hoping the Rams counter with a higher guaranteed number. Which is to say, he's fine with the total money, but wants a higher portion guaranteed.
                      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Nick
                        Actually, I believe Donald is in the final year of his deal. The 2018 season is the fifth year option year, so he's scheduled for free agency after this season (unless he holds out deep into August and loses an accrued year).
                        Did last year's holdout affect this?
                        The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by HUbison View Post
                          Did last year's holdout affect this?
                          In a way,. Players need three years of accrued time to qualify for restricted free agency, and a fourth accrued year to be an unrestricted free agent.

                          Donald had three years accrued heading into last year, so his longer holdout means he didn't get his fourth year accrued. That won't matter if he shows up on or around August 8th, because then this - his fifth year in the league - would be his fourth accrued year and he'd be eligible for unrestricted free agency.

                          If he holds out beyond the deadline for earning an accrued year, then he'd be a restricted free agent after the season instead of unrestricted. I think the Rams would still use the franchise tag on him rather than give him an RFA tender, though.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Nick View Post

                            In a way,. Players need three years of accrued time to qualify for restricted free agency, and a fourth accrued year to be an unrestricted free agent.

                            Donald had three years accrued heading into last year, so his longer holdout means he didn't get his fourth year accrued. That won't matter if he shows up on or around August 8th, because then this - his fifth year in the league - would be his fourth accrued year and he'd be eligible for unrestricted free agency.

                            If he holds out beyond the deadline for earning an accrued year, then he'd be a restricted free agent after the season instead of unrestricted. I think the Rams would still use the franchise tag on him rather than give him an RFA tender, though.
                            Well, that certainly spring hopes that he'll get in at a decent point in the pre-season (considering August 8th decent). Though I agree with you the franchise would apply the FT on either way, I'm sure his party would rather go into next season UFA over RFA.
                            The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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                            • #15
                              I was reading the other day how we have already signed all of our draft picks. I remember the days of when that always was a pain. It seems now that we have shifted the pain to the player's second contract and the battle continues...has the season started yet?
                              "The disappointment of losing is huge!"

                              Jack Youngblood

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                              • MauiRam
                                Bonsignore: Hey Aaron Donald, the Rams arenítÖ
                                MauiRam
                                By VINCENT BONSIGNORE
                                PUBLISHED: August 30, 2017 at 12:32 pm

                                Aaron Donald deserves to be the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.

                                So letís just get that out of the way at the very top, lest anyone thinks sides are being taken in a contract holdout that has cost Donald all of training camp and preseason. And if he doesnít report in the next day or so, it likely will mean sitting out at least the Ramsí season opener Sept. 10 against the Indianapolis Colts.

                                Repeat: Aaron Donald deserves to be the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. Have we cleared that up? -- Good!

                                Letís make something else clear: Itís time for Donald to end his contract holdout and get back to Los Angeles.

                                Preferably by Friday. But absolutely in time for Donald to be available when the Rams open the season at the Coliseum.

                                Heís taken his stand far enough by holding out. Made his point loud and clear.

                                Up until now, weíve all just sort of stood off to the side and nodded in agreement. Of course Donald needs to be compensated as one of the best players in the NFL. And if it means him sitting out some voluntary offseason practices and skipping the grind of training camp and not suiting up for some meaningless preseason games nobody pays much attention to, so be it.

                                Nothing was being lost, tangibly, other than time and preparation.

                                If it meant the Rams standing up and taking notice and ultimately doing right by Donald as a result, thatís something we can all get behind.

                                Thing is, the Rams got that point a long time ago.

                                And while they wonít say so publicly, there is a strong sense theyíve made it clear they are open to making Donald the highest-paid defensive player in the league relative to annual average salary while guaranteeing him a life-changing amount of money.

                                If youíre doing the math at home, that means Donald making $70 million in guaranteed money and, should he play out the length of the deal, pocket $118 million or so.

                                For point of reference, think somewhere above Ndamukong Suhís six-year, $114.4 million deal that guarantees him $60 million, and Von Millerís six-year, $114 million contract that guarantees him $70 million.

                                Thatís an incredibly fair offer given that Donald has two years remaining on his original rookie deal and that, frankly, with the Rams controlling him for at least the next four years they arenít obligated to do anything.

                                But they understand Donald has massively outplayed his rookie contract, and the $8.7 million he has coming to him over the next two seasons is almost an insult relative to his talent, his standing among his peers and the impact me makes for the team.

                                Which is why they are willing to tear that contract up and renegotiate a new one that reflects the Hall of Fame caliber player they were so fortunate to draft with the 13th...
                                -08-30-2017, 04:02 PM
                              • AvengerRam
                                Aaron Donald has less than 48 hours of leverage
                                AvengerRam
                                Aaron Donald must report to camp by tomorrow or he will lose a year's credit in the CBA's free agency system. I'm presuming he won't do that, so I expect the holdout to be over soon.

                                That said, the issue won't be resolved if Donald merely reports to camp without a new contract.

                                Its hard to have an opinion regarding the situation, as nobody outside of Rams' Park and Donald's inner circle knows what has been offered and what has been demanded.

                                My opinion, though, is as follows...

                                IF the Rams are offering a "highest paid DT" contract, despite the fact that Donald is still under his rookie deal for two more years, and Donald is holding out for "highest paid player" money, I'd say Donald is the unreasonable one.

                                IF theRams aretrying to use Donald's rookie contract as leverage to lock him into a below market value contract, then I'd say the Rams were being unreasonable.

                                All that said, I really don't expect a long-term problem. Donald is too good a player to let go, and he's not the type of player I'd expect to drag his heels on the field while waiting for a new deal.

                                My prediction: he'll be signed by 5:00 tomorrow.
                                -08-07-2017, 08:19 AM
                              • Nick
                                Bonsignore: For now, anyway, Aaron Donald is back in the Ramsí fold
                                Nick
                                Bonsignore: For now, anyway, Aaron Donald is back in the Ramsí fold
                                By VINCENT BONSIGNORE | vbonsignore@scng.com | Daily News
                                PUBLISHED: September 13, 2017 at 5:55 pm | UPDATED: September 13, 2017 at 6:30 pm

                                THOUSAND OAKS Ė Aaron Donald emerged from the Rams weight room at their Thousand Oaks training facility on Wednesday, flashed a bit of a grin to some nearby observers, then made his way to the nearby practice field.

                                And just like that, Donald was back, present and accounted for with the Rams. Heíll presumably play Sunday against Washington at the Coliseum, although the certainty of that Ė and how much he actually plays Ė rests in how his body responds to the first full week of practice since December.

                                ďI worked out a lot. Iím in great shape,Ē he said. ďBut itís a different from running around out there then from being on the football field. Just going to take it day by day here and just seeing how I feel as the week goes on.Ē

                                For now, anyway, the long contract holdout that cost Donald most of OTAs, all of training camp, all four preseason games and, to be technical, the season opener against the Colts, is behind him.

                                We stress for now, anyway, because Donaldís triumphant return didnít include the new, lucrative contract he hoped the holdout would eventually produce. And the longer that stays the case, the greater the chance we go through all this again at some point.

                                The fear of losing paychecks likely wonít mean another holdout happening during the regular season. But who knows what his position will be come next offseason as he approaches the final year of a contract he has thoroughly outplayed.

                                All of which was much too far into the future for Donald even ot consider, let alone discuss, on his first day back at practice.

                                ďIím just thinking about now,Ē he said. ďIím here now.Ē

                                What ďhereĒ really means remains to be seen, of course. Letís be frank, Donald didnít return because of his undying love for football or his teammates Ė of which he admittedly has an abundance.

                                He came back because he wasnít about to start sacrificing actual paychecks in pursuit of a new deal. That doesnít make him greedy, it makes him smart.

                                Donald offered no clues on whether he and the Rams are close on a new deal. And while he said he is ďhopefulĒ something eventually gets done to keep him in Los Angeles a long time, he didnít sound all that convincing.

                                Conventional wisdom says when two sides are motivated to get things done, it usually gets done. The Rams want Donald around long term and understand the kind of financial investment it will take to make that happen. And Donald seems to want to be here.

                                But thatís been the case now for months, and no deal has materialized.

                                Itís all about money,of course.

                                The Rams believe heís worth A, B and C over the current highest-paid...
                                -09-14-2017, 05:22 AM
                              • MauiRam
                                With preseason games upon us & Aaron Donald’s holdout lingering, what is his end game
                                MauiRam
                                By Vincent Bonsignore| Daily News
                                PUBLISHED: August 10, 2017 at 5:48 pm | UPDATED: August 10, 2017 at 6:17 pm

                                With the regular season now just a month away, contract talks between the Rams and defensive lineman Aaron Donald remain stalled. (AP Photo/Greg Beacham)

                                IRVINE Ė The Rams will play their first preseason game of 2017 Saturday against the Dallas Cowboys at the Coliseum. Barring a major development between now and kickoff, their best player wonít even be in the same area code, let alone in uniform and on the field with the rest of his teammates.

                                The contract holdout of All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald continues to linger, hovering over the Rams like a thick morning marine layer off the Pacific Ocean.

                                On and on it goes, now officially two weeks in length and months in execution if you go all the way back to the Ramsí organized offseason team activities. Donald was a no-show throughout OTAís, firmly planting his feet in the ground in protest of a contract that doesnít reflect his stature as the NFLís best interior defensive lineman and the internal fortitude to fight for a new deal that does.

                                The last time we actually saw Donald and the Rams in the same vicinity was at a mandatory minicamp June 13. But whatever positive vibes his appearance created in Thousand Oaks that day soon faded amid contract talks that yielded no resolution, an official training camp report date that passed without Donald reporting and the 13 days that have followed in which Donald has conspicuously remained AWOL.

                                Donald and his camp have been eerily quiet throughout, but we can safely surmise they are seeking a deal that makes him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL and surpasses in annual salary the $19,062,500 that Ndamukong Suh makes and the $60 million in guaranteed money his six-year contract with the Dolphins pays him.

                                We can also safely assume the Rams have pushed a life-changing pile of money to the middle of the table for Donald to accept, an amount that will grant the 26-year-old Pittsburgh native his wish to be the highest-paid defensive player in the league.

                                They are wise enough to understand what they uncovered when they drafted Donald 13th overall in 2014, and that, three years into his original rookie deal he is wildly underpaid and deserves a contract worthy of his current stature.

                                In that respect, the two sides share mutual ground. Donald wants his just due and the Rams want to do right by him.

                                On the other hand, months of contract talks have yielded no resolution. For all the mutual motivation they share, they just arenít connecting on the key elements of a mutually satisfactory contract.

                                The reasons for that could vary:
                                • The Rams arenít willing to go as high over the Suh market as Donald is demanding;
                                • The two sides canít find common ground on how much money is guaranteed;
                                • Donaldís camp
                                ...
                                -08-11-2017, 11:02 AM
                              • svh01
                                Aaron Donald
                                svh01
                                I was thinking about the Aaorn Donald situation and had a thought I haven't seen posted by anyone. There's been talk about Donald wanting an "out" clause in contract after 3 years. Do you think this a ploy for Donald to make as much money as possible so he can leave as a free agent and sign with the Steelers regardless of the salary they can offer? He seems to be a Pittsburgh guy through and through so I can only imagine that his dream job would be to play for the Steelers. I would think he would want to play some of his prime years to be played there to help bring another SB trophy back "home"....
                                -04-19-2018, 06:49 AM
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