The Rams made the cuts Saturday to trim their roster to the mandatory 53.
But it wasn’t who the Rams released or held onto that garnered the bulk of the attention. Aside from the mild surprise of releasing rookie fullback Sam Rogers, second-year cornerback Mike Jordan and fan-favorite wide receiver Nelson Spruce while keeping rookie free agent tight end Johnny Mundt, there weren’t any shocking decisions among the flurry of moves the Rams made Saturday.
Nor, for that matter, was it a surprise that All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald wasn’t at the club’s Thousand Oaks headquarters.
To no one’s shock, Donald remains absent from the team as he continues to holdout in a contract dispute. An entire offseason, training camp and preseason have come and gone with Donald AWOL as he and the club try to figure out fair value on a new contract. Donald still has two years remaining on the original five-year deal he signed as the 13th pick in the 2014 draft, but even the Rams agree he’s massively outplayed that deal and earned a new one that reflects his stature as the best player at his position in the NFL.
But that’s the extent of their mutual compliance, as the two sides have yet to come to terms on what his value is, let alone how much of it should be guaranteed or how much of the overall number should be guaranteed over the first three years of the deal. Until the necessary common ground can be found, the stalemate continues.
If no resolution occurs over the next 48 hours or so, the Rams are in severe danger of taking the field against the Indianapolis Colts in their season opener without the best player on their team.
“The level of urgency is certainly raised as we get close and closer to our first regular season game,” said Rams coach Sean McVay.
The first-year head coach is an admitted eternal optimist, and vows to remain confident a solution can be found in time for Donald to suit up next Sunday.
“I’m always going to remain positive,” McVay said.
And in his own way, McVay is trying to pitch in in the effort to get Donald back in the building. While the bulk of the negotiations between the Rams and Donald’s agent are being handled by General Manager Les Snead, Vice President of Football operations Kevin Demoff and assistant general manager Tony Pastoors , McVay is reaching out to Donald as well.
“I’m kind of chasing him around, kind of like I’m chasing a girl in high school,” McVay joked. “Just like anything else,…