Aaron Donald Ends Holdout with Rams; DE Won't Play Week 1

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2017

FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2016, file photo, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald tries to fire up the crowd during the team's NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. The Rams play the Buffalo Bills this week. Not only have the Rams won three in a row after an awful opener, they are winning despite ranking dead last in total offense. There's nothing wrong with the defense, led by Donald, and if running back Todd Gurley, last year's top offensive rookie, can get going, Los Angeles might have a contender in its first season back in the NFL. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo, File)
Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

The good news for the Los Angeles Rams is that Aaron Donald is back with the team. The bad news is that he isn't going to play in Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Myles Simmons of the Rams' official site reported Donald and the team have yet to reach an agreement on a new contract and "will continue to work to reach a solution."

ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported on Donald and the Rams' continued impasse over an extension.

The Rams reacted to Donald's return on Twitter:

Since he was holding out, the Rams didn't list Donald on their 53-man active roster. Simmons noted the team will ask the NFL to grant it a roster exemption, which would allow Donald to receive his Week 1 game check.

Donald is signed through the 2018 season. He's set to make a little over $1.8 million this season before his salary climbs to nearly $6.9 million next year.

The 26-year-old could've further tested the Rams' resolve if he had carried his holdout into the regular season, but it would've come at a significant cost. According to Over the Cap's Jason Fitzgerald, Donald would've forfeited about $250,000 by not rejoining the team by Week 1 and then another $106,015 for every game he missed.

It's not like a regular-season holdout was all that necessary for Donald to prove his worth to the Rams, though. He has 28 sacks through his first three years, and Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson ranked him as the best player in the league heading into the 2017 campaign.

"The Rams defensive lineman has been a one-man wrecking crew inside whether against the run or as a pass-rusher," Monson wrote. "He has tallied a ridiculous 161 total pressures over the past two seasons, and 90 defensive stops, generating both pressure, and decisive pressure, at a completely different rate to any other defensive tackle."

Donald will be missed along the Rams defensive line against the Colts, but at least Los Angeles should have him back when it welcomes Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins' aerial attack in Week 2.