Sean McVay Denies Reports Aaron Donald, Rams Are Close to New Contract

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 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

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay shot down rumors that the team and Aaron Donald are close to a contract extension.

"I've seen a lot of reports out there, but that's news to us," said McVay to reporters on Monday. "So, no news on that front for us. Same thing as just the dialogue, but as far as anything that's changed, it hasn't changed."

He was responding to multiple reports earlier in the day suggesting otherwise. 

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, "Per a league source, chatter is increasing regarding the possibility of the Rams and Donald getting a deal done soon."

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports also reported that the Rams are nearing an extension with Donald: 

General manager Les Snead publicly indicated the Rams were nearing a deal last Wednesday.

"We're in the same ZIP code, area code, ballpark," he said, per ESPN.com.

He told the Orange County Register (via ESPN.com): "Nothing has changed since we started this process. The goal is still to come up with a win-win situation for the reigning defensive MVP and the Los Angeles Rams, and that's a long-term contract for Aaron Donald."

Donald, 27, has emerged as the NFL's best defensive lineman and arguably its most impactful defensive player, period. His 11 sacks last season tied for 11th in the NFL, and that mark was impressive for an interior player. In his four seasons, he's posted 39 sacks, averaging 9.8 per season. 

His hardware matches his stats. Donald is a four-time Pro Bowler, three-time first-team All-Pro selection and two-time Defensive Player of the Year. He was also named as Pro Football Focus' top overall player from the 2017 season and its top player heading into 2018, according to PFF's Sam Monson.

And Donald might only get better on a Rams defense bolstered by offseason additions like defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Pairing Donald with Suh should give Los Angeles one of the most dominant defensive interiors in recent memory. 

All that is contingent on working out the contractual differences, however, and getting the superstar defensive tackle back with his teammates. Donald is on the final year of his rookie contract, and it's unlikely either Donald or the Rams want to hit next offseason with him as a free agent and the franchise tag as a possibility. 

So while the Rams appear to be legitimate title contenders this year, wrapping up their business with Donald remains their most pressing concern. 

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