LA Rams: Offseason additions mean nothing without Aaron Donald

MANHATTAN BEACH, CA - MARCH 04: Aaron Donald (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)
MANHATTAN BEACH, CA - MARCH 04: Aaron Donald (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams have had a very positive offseason when it comes to bringing in talent. However, none of that matters if the team mishandles Aaron Donald.

When it comes to pure added talent, the LA Rams may have had the best offseason out of any team in the NFL.

The Rams essentially added four Pro Bowl-caliber players to a young roster that was already set up to be the NFL’s next dynasty. All the Rams needed were slight additions — the front office went out and bought the entire farm.

Los Angeles added two Pro Bowl cornerbacks in Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib; striping the AFC West of two of the three best cornerbacks in the division (you’re welcome, Casey Hayward).

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The last move the LA Rams made in the offseason was trading the team’s first-round pick for wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Although Cooks has not made a Pro Bowl, he does have 1000 receiving yards in each of the last three seasons and is a suitable replacement for Sammy Watkins.

However, it was the move in between that seemingly was the dagger for the Rams. The front office brought in Ndamukong Suh on a cheap, one-year deal. The selling point for Suh? Playing alongside Aaron Donald.

And that is where a promising offseason turns sour for the LA Rams. Despite all of the offseason additions and the cap space the team freed up by parting ways with guys like Trumaine Johnson, Alec Ogletree and Robert Quinn, the team has still not extended All-Pro Aaron Donald.

The 2017 NFL Defensive Player of the Year obviously takes exception to this as he did not report to the LA Rams minicamp. He also sat out the first two games of last season due to failed contract negotiations.

This obviously is the biggest storyline going on with the Rams even after all of the newly added talent. That is fitting, as well, as none of these offseason additions will matter much without Aaron Donald.

Are the Rams still a playoff team with Donald? Sure. However, Donald is the heart and soul of the defense and has earned the honor of being the best defensive player in the NFL. Donald’s ceiling is being the MVP (although it is a stretch). He is that great and historic.

Not only would the Rams be losing the defensive identity of the team, Los Angeles would essentially miss out on Suh as well.

Suh’s one-year deal was signed with the intention of playing alongside Donald, who also only has one more year under contract. If Donald walks, it would not be surprising to see Suh walk and take a big payday elsewhere.

Playing alongside Donald is only going to increase Suh’s worth back to what it was several years ago. Signing a one-year deal was a genius move on Suh’s part.

However, it is ultimately risky for the LA Rams and could be the extra salt in the wound in what may be remembered as one of the worst contract mishandlings in the NFL.

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The LA Rams need to pay Aaron Donald, no matter what the fee may be. If the team doesn’t, it won’t take long for everyone in the organization to regret the stinginess.