Aaron Donald Informs Rams He Won't Attend OTAs Amid Contract Dispute

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2018

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 03:  Defensive end Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams reacts after a tackle against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 3, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Rams defeated the Cardinals 32-16.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald told the Los Angeles Rams he wouldn't be attending the team's voluntary organized team activities as he seeks a long-term contract extension, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Donald, 26, is arguably the best defensive player in football. He registered 41 tackles, 11 sacks and five forced fumbles in 2017, dominating the interior for the Rams.

Donald is due to make $6.8 million next season before hitting restricted free agency, per Spotrac. But it's hard to imagine he won't have a new contract before the 2018 season begins.

And frankly, his next deal likely will set a precedent for defensive players, as he's truly one of the game's elite talents. As Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson noted, Donald's 91 pressures led the NFL despite the superstar missing two games:

"Needless to say, Donald had the league's best pass-rushing productivity score of 14.8, and in the playoffs he had one of the most spectacular halves of football you will ever see, generating 10 total pressures before the Falcons completely changed their gameplan at the half to try and take his influence out of the game. Donald's dominance changes games, and he rightfully takes his place atop the PFF Top 101 for the second time in his career."

Donald's impact is rare. His strength and ability to penetrate at the point of attack collapses the pocket against the pass. That he so regularly sacks opposing quarterbacks from the interior has put his career on a Hall of Fame track. 

The Rams could choose to use the franchise tag on Donald for the next three years, but if the player is in their long-term plans—and he certainly should be—figuring out a long-term solution is ideal for all sides involved. 

Donald skipped much of the team's offseason programs last year, hoping for a new contract before the Rams exercised a fifth-year option. Nipping the situation in the bud this offseason would benefit all parties.

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