By Nick Shook
Around The NFL writer
Read full post on NFL.com
That’s no worry to coach Sean McVay, who spoke for the organization Monday on the “really good dialogue” related to a new contract for Donald.
“We feel good about the dialogue that has existed,” McVay told reporters. “We totally understand some of the other things that are going on with regards to wanting to get that deal, and with respect to Aaron, we feel really good about that dialogue. And this is a voluntary offseason program with where we’re at. You know he’s a guy who’s going to work hard on his off-time, and that’s kind of where we’re at. So we feel good with everything that’s going on with that.”
Voluntary is a key word here, but so are last season’s developments, which saw Donald skip all of training camp and return one day before the Rams opened their season against the Indianapolis Colts. His holdout didn’t produce a new contract, but with a precedent established, there’s lingering concern he might not attend training camp this year, either.
McVay said the tone of the aforementioned discussions has eased any potential fears this time around.
“I think the best thing we have going is now there’s been a year of working together. There’s a rapport, there’s a relationship that’s been established and we’re in constant dialogue and communication,” McVay said. “When this happened last year, we weren’t involved really much in communication between myself and Aaron. And I think you feel good about it just knowing where he’s at.
“You know he’s going to be a guy who’s so conscientious. He’s working hard, he’s doing all those things back at home in Pittsburgh … so it leaves me with a much better understanding of where we’re at. We’re proactively continuing to work toward solutions — we got meetings and things like that set up — and we’re hopeful that [a new contract] will eventually come.”
Donald is in the fifth and final year of his rookie deal, which is set to pay him a base salary of $6.89 million (per Over The Cap), a significant increase from his 2017 number of $1.8 million. Coming off a Defensive Player of the Year campaign, his value doesn’t need to be explained. It’s in the best interest of the Rams to get a deal done before we reach 2019, when Donald will hit the open market.
Donald’s workouts absence was expected and isn’t cause for alarm. It sounds as though the Rams know as well as anyone how important it is to get this deal done. When (and for how much) remains to be seen.