The Los Angeles Rams have seriously mishandled Aaron Donald thus far. If the worst-case scenario happens, what options do the Rams have?
The Los Angeles Rams have been unable to sign defensive tackle Aaron Donald to a contract extension for over a year. For the fans, this means a year of stress and frustration as Donald is the best defensive player in football and a huge component to the Rams’ success.
These failed contract negotiations led to Donald sitting out the first two games of the season last year and he still won the Defensive Player of the Year award. This year, it could be a much worse situation.
Donald tweeted a cryptic tweet of an hourglass, likely signaling that time may be running out for the Rams. If we want to be optimistic, it could be that a contract extension is near, which seems very unclear.
Los Angeles Rams’ COO Kevin Dermoff commented on the Donald negotiations before Donald sent this cryptic tweet; stating that the two sides simply do not agree on a contract.
Donald obviously wants to be paid like the best defensive player in football and may be asking for an unprecedented amount of money. At 27 years old, the end of Donald’s contract could become an ugly one, however, it seems like a smart risk to take for the Rams who will at least get 2-3 more years of dominant Donald.
There may reach a boiling point on Donald’s end due to the failed contract negotiations. Donald obviously is not afraid to sit out of a few games, so what if the defensive star demands a trade?
It is a realistic scenario. Donald could approach the Rams asking to be traded to a team that is willing to pay him. While forcing trades is less prevalent in the NFL as it is in the NBA, it is still a possibility in this ongoing Donald saga.
If Donald does present the Rams with the worst ultimatum possible, there are two routes.
1. Don’t trade Aaron Donald, hope that winning a Super Bowl puts him on the field
If Donald demands a trade, this is the least likely route as he could reach a point where nothing can convince him to come back.
However, the Rams are obviously Super Bowl contenders next season and boast one of the most talented and well-rounded rosters in football. Alongside Ndamukong Suh on the defensive line, Donald would be able to partake in something truly special.
The Rams can simply hope those promises outweigh the negatives and get Donald onto the field. Then, the team can pray that no other team is willing to offer him the massive contract he wants. If there is a suitor, well, Donald is gone.
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2. Trade Aaron Donald for experienced talent
The second and most likely route the Rams can take is to trade him for experienced talent on the field. These kind of star for star swaps are so rare in sports, especially in football, where a player is often traded for draft picks.
However, the Rams front office is obviously always busy and may find a suitor for Donald that is willing to pay a superstar for superstar trade.
Perhaps the New York Giants would swap Odell Beckham Jr, who was already thrown into trade rumors, for a defensive star like Donald. Maybe the New England Patriots are willing to swap what could be just one season of Rob Gronkowski for a season of Donald.
There are not many opportunities available down this avenue but there are at least some opportunities that can be explored.
And if that terrible ultimatium is brought to the Los Angeles Rams, this really is the only way to trade Aaron Donald. The title windows in the NFL are miniscule, if Donald wants out, the Los Angeles Rams need another star in return.