Report: Aaron Donald’s holdout with Rams could be ‘lengthy’
Aaron Donald has watched two of his teammates land massive contract extensions this offseason as he enters the final year of his rookie deal, and it sounds like the star defensive tackle is planning to stay away from the Los Angeles Rams until he gets the same treatment.
Donald, who held out until September last year, did not report to training camp on Wednesday. Since he held out basically until the start of the regular season last year, Donald must report to the Rams at least a month prior to Week 1 this year — or by Aug. 7 — in order to get an accrued season toward free agency. If he doesn’t, he would be a restricted free agent in 2019.
That is, of course, if the Rams don’t use the franchise tag on him anyway. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, that is probably what would happen.
On #Rams DT Aaron Donald: If he doesn’t report by Aug 7, he doesn’t get an accrued season for free agency and he’d be restricted in 2019. I’m told that date is not considered relevant by those involved — in part because they may just franchise him, anyway. This should be lengthy.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 26, 2018
Even if Donald held out through Aug. 7 and was only eligible to become a restricted free agent next offseason, the Rams likely would not let it happen. Another team would undoubtedly sign Donald to a massive offer sheet that the Rams would have to match, so they’d be better off just using the franchise tag. As Rapoport notes, that’s why neither side considers Aug. 7 a deadline in negotiations.
While a previous report indicated Donald expected to have a long-term deal in place before training camp, that was clearly too optimistic. The Rams might be waiting for another team to sign their own defensive star to a long-term deal in order to set the market, but that situation seems quite similar.