For the second year in a row, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald did not report for the start of the team’s offseason conditioning program on Monday as he seeks a contract extension.
Donald, who turns 27 in May, is the league’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year and is widely expected to seek a contract that will make him the league’s highest-paid defensive player. He stayed away from the team for the entire 2017 offseason and through training camp, so his absence on Monday was expected.
Rams head coach Sean McVay did not express concern when addressing reporters on Monday, noting that the two sides are making progress toward a deal and adding that Donald’s participation isn’t a top priority at the moment.
“What I think we feel good about is the dialogue that has existed,” McVay said. “We totally understand some of the other things that are going on with regards to wanting to get that deal. With respect to Aaron, we feel really good about where we’re at with that dialogue. This is a voluntary offseason program. You know he’s a guy that’s going to work hard on his off time, and that’s kind of where we’re at. We feel good about everything that’s going on with that.”
Rams general manager Les Snead expressed his expectation earlier this month about Donald receiving a mega-extension, saying on The MMQB Podcast with Peter King that Donald “is on the verge of being the highest-paid defensive player in football.”
Donald is scheduled to make $6.89 million on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract in 2018, the final year of his deal. Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller is currently the league’s highest paid defender, at six years and $114.5 million, with $70 million guaranteed.
Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack, who went eight picks ahead of Donald in the 2014 draft and was named the league’s top defender in 2016, is also reportedly seeking a record-setting contract this offseason.
–Field Level Media