Rams' Donald absent; 'Pay the man,' says Peters
“Pay the man,” Peters said Monday after the Rams’ first organized team activities workout.
Donald, a four-time Pro Bowler and reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, did not report for voluntary OTAs on Monday because of an ongoing contract dispute. Rams coach Sean McVay said that he doesn’t anticipate seeing Donald until a resolution is reached.
“It is something that we want to get resolved,” McVay said. “As far as a timetable, don’t really have any dates on that.”
Donald, who turns 27 on Wednesday, is entering the fifth year of his rookie contract and is scheduled to earn $6.89 million, but is seeking to become one of the highest-paid players in the league.
The Rams’ defense underwent significant changes this offseason to better accommodate defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme. Outside linebacker Robert Quinn was traded to the Miami Dolphins and linebacker Alec Ogletree was dealt to the New York Giants.
“Aaron is a vet, man,” Talib said. “He’s going to take care of his own business. What’s his business is his business.”
Before addressing Donald’s situation, Peters said the offseason program played an important role in the development of chemistry.
“We’ve got to make it jell at the end of the day,” Peters said. “You can say that we’ve got all these big names and that you’ve got this person and that person, but if we don’t make it jell then it ain’t going to do nothing for us. So we’ve got to come in and learn each other. It’s going to be a learning process for us throughout OTAs, going into minicamp and then going into training camp.”
Donald’s contract negotiations began after the 2016 season. He did not attend organized team activities last May, but reported to mandatory minicamp. Donald then held out of training camp and reported a day before the Rams’ season opener without a deal in place.
“He and I have had good dialogue,” McVay said of Donald. “I spoke with him last week. This feels a lot different than last year. Certainly any time that you have something where the team comes together, to have a player that’s as important as he is here, you would prefer that. But it is voluntary. We understand that, and we have a lot of respect and understanding for what’s going on.”
The Rams’ mandatory minicamp is scheduled for June 12-14.