Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has informed the team that he will not be in attendance for Organized Team Activities on Monday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Donald, of course, is still pushing for a new contract, and his absence from OTAs is no coincidence.
On the plus side, the Rams remain optimistic about hammering out a new deal with the three-time First-Team All-Pro. While Donald will not be with the club for their voluntary workouts this week, Rams head coach Sean McVay has been texting with Donald, and he says the line communication is stronger than last summer.
“He’s responding more than he was at this time last year, so that’s what I feel good about,”said McVay.
Given that Donald has been an elite player in each of his four NFL seasons, it seems likely that he’ll top Von Miller‘s $19.083MM average annual value, making him the highest-paid defender in league history. The Rams are aware of what it will take to lock him up, but they also have to be careful not to blow their budget with several other stars due for new deals. That group includes running back Todd Gurley and cornerback Marcus Peters as both players are due for unrestricted free agency after the 2019 season.
Last year, Donald amassed eleven sacks, five forced fumbles, and 41 total tackles playing mostly from the interior. Opposing teams will have their hands full as they deal with a defensive line unit that includes Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Michael Brockers, Ethan Westbrooks, and Dominique Easley in the rotation.
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