Aggressive player acquisitions landed the Los Angeles Rams in the headlines this offseason, but the future for their top defensive star has kept them there. According to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport, defensive tackle Aaron Donald plans to skip the team's voluntary offseason program amid growing consternation over his contract.
Donald just completed a dominant fourth season in the NFL for which he earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. With only a fifth-year option remaining on his rookie contract, the star defensive tackle has his eyes on a long-term extension. Donald pushed for a new contract last year, holding out through the preseason before returning to the team on Sept. 7.
General manager Les Snead said publicly that the Rams have "budgeted" for the multiyear deal needed to keep Donald in Los Angeles but also stated in January that the team has higher priorities to consider. As such, it remains unclear whether Donald's absence from the offseason program represents nothing more than a player opting to skip voluntary workouts or the beginning of another prolonged contract stalemate.
Barring a new deal, Donald's contract carries a cap hit of approximately $6.9 million for 2018, according to Over the Cap. That figure ranks sixth on the Rams defense behind Ndamukong Suh ($14.5 million), Lamarcus Joyner (roughly $11.3 million), Michael Brockers ($11 million), Aqib Talib ($11 million) and Mark Barron ($10 million).
Since entering the league in 2014, Donald has never missed a Pro Bowl and has earned first-team All-Pro honors three times. He has recorded 148 tackles and 39 career sacks, twice leading the league in sacks by a defensive tackle.