Star defensive tackle Aaron Donald did not report with the rest of his teammates, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Friday. The 26-year-old, who is under contract through the 2017 season and a club option season in 2018, has a "huge" contract offer on the table according to Rapoport and NFL Network's Michael Silver, but Donald desires to be paid among the best players in football.
While there isn't a ton of precedent for a team ripping up a boilerplate CBA rookie deal with two years remaining, Donald is trying to get the ball rolling. Giants receiver Odell Beckham, who said on Thursday that he desired to be paid as the best player in the NFL, has been on a similar quest this offseason though he opted not to hold out of camp. As a three-time Pro Bowler, two-time first-team All-Pro member and Defensive Rookie of the Year, Donald has a sound argument. The Rams are not in a position to be turning away talent either, especially with a brand new head coach in Sean McVay and an ownership group attempting to establish superstars in their new home city of Los Angeles.
Donald is rare in that he can play across the defensive line, never having to leave the field. He also generates an incredible amount of interior pressure, making life easier for the Rams' edge rushers and ends.
Donald had eight sacks a season ago along with a career-high five pass breakups and two forced fumbles.
If the Rams are interested in playing chicken with Donald because of their confidence in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, they may want to remember that in each of Phillips' last two stops he had a generational talent at pass rusher (Von Miller in Denver and J.J. Watt in Houston). Early on in his career, Donald has forced his name into that conversation and would prove to be a tremendous asset for Phillips while he puts this group of players together.