THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald is not attending the Los Angeles Rams’ mandatory minicamp while he continues his lengthy quest for a lucrative new contract.
Donald wasn’t on the field with his teammates for the Rams’ first minicamp workout Tuesday, and he wasn’t at their training complex for their off-field commitments Monday, either. The NFL Defensive Player of the Year also skipped the Rams’ voluntary workout program over the previous two months.
Donald is staying away from the Rams’ offseason work for the second straight year, but he reported to last season’s mandatory minicamp to avoid a potential fine. This year, Donald doesn’t appear to be concerned about losing money by missing minicamp while he strives to become one of the NFL’s highest-paid players.
The defending NFC West champion Rams haven’t indicated whether they intend to fine Donald for missing the camp, but his absence wasn’t a surprise. The team could fine him more than $84,000 for missing camp.
Donald is due to make nearly $6.9 million this season in the fifth year of his rookie contract, but the team agrees he deserves a raise after turning in four dominant seasons as the cornerstone of the Rams’ defense.
Yet the Rams and Donald’s representatives still haven’t made a deal after many months of talking. Donald is widely thought to be seeking a contract big enough to make him one of the top-paid players at any position, with a salary comparable to the wages of the NFL’s better quarterbacks.
The Rams have managed to maintain a civil relationship with Donald even after he skipped training camp and the entire preseason schedule last summer. He reported to the team shortly before the regular season began, missing the first game.
Donald also skipped most of the Rams’ offseason program and organized team activities last year. Although he showed up for the minicamp, he didn’t participate in the team drills, instead doing individual work and staying on the sidelines.
Donald is expected to be the foundation of a standout defensive line alongside Rams newcomer Ndamukong Suh, who agreed to a one-year, $14 million deal in the offseason.
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