NFL Analyst: Donald Might Not Play Week 1

After seeing the Rams sign Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks to lucrative extensions, the 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year is holding out for his big payday

Taz and the Moose
August 08, 2018 - 5:22 pm

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After just signing Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks to massive contract extensions, the Los Angeles Rams and its talented offensive core seems to be set for several years to come.

However, it appears the same thing cannot be for said for the its game-changing superstars on the defensive side of the ball — most notably for Aaron Donald, who’s going into his final year of his rookie contract. Donald, in hopes of being offered a record-breaking deal, has been holding out from team activities, and it seems to be that he won’t be backing down anytime soon.

While previewing the upcoming season on CBS Sports Radio, former NFL cornerback and CBS Sports NFL analyst Bryant McFadden thinks it’s quite possible that the 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year won’t be suiting up for the Rams when they open the regular season against the Raiders on Sept. 10.

“There’s a good chance Aaron Donald might not play Week 1,” McFadden said on Taz & The Moose. “We’re hearing rumors that the Rams offered him a contract that would pay him the most money by a defensive player, which is roughly around $20 million, and he said no. But they never talked about the guaranteed money, and I think that’s the issue. Outside of that, I don’t think (the Rams) value the position as much as they value the player, and that has been an issue with Donald not receiving that lucrative extension that he is deserving of seeing. When you look at Todd Gurley — a guy who had two years on a contract, was not disgruntled, and was happy where he was financially — they rewarded him when his contract was not up and gave him a huge deal. So they clearly value the player and the position (for Gurley). Wade Phillips and that defense — I think they know Aaron Donald is a heck of a player, but do they have the same value for the player and the position (for Donald)? I don’t think so.”

Along with the drama surrounding their four-time Pro-Bowl defensive end, McFadden believes all of the publicity from this offseason might end up becoming a distraction, which could even lead into a surprising loss in the first game of the 2018 season.

“The Rams right now are everybody’s favorite outside of the Eagles as far as representing the NFC in (Super Bowl LIII),” McFadden said. “They’ve been getting so much publicity throughout the offseason — not to mention the distractions with Aaron Donald. I think when you look at the Rams, we know that’s an explosive team, but they still have young players in key positions — à la the quarterback position. Which Jared Goff will we see Week 1? Will he continue to be consistent, make timely plays, and protect the football? We don’t know. I’m not quite ready to give him that label yet just off of one great year. Defensively, we know they cannot stop the run. They didn't stop the run a year ago. Yes, they have (Ndamukong) Suh, but if you don’t have Aaron Donald, and when you look at the linebackers in the interior, I question that ability to stop the run.”