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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, 12:32 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, 12:27 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, 01:56 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.

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                  • #10
                    Id 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
                      Id 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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