Off the Record (OTR)

Is it worth it to pay Aaron Donald?

The Los Angeles Rams, as bad as they are, actually have some really good players. Too bad that none of them are at the quarterback position or otherwise they could actually be a pretty good team.

One of those excellent players is defensive tackle Aaron Donald. But, he’s like…really, really good. Like, really good. Like, he might be the best defensive player in the NFL.

Drafted in 2014 and with his fifth-year option already picked up, the Rams control him through 2018. But, that doesn’t mean he’s going to be happy playing on a rookie deal. And Ian Rapoport reports that it’s no sure thing that he shows up to the next round of mandatory minicamps. Sure, he’d get fined, but do the Rams really want to go down that road and piss him off? They’d probably forgive that fine money with a new deal, but you never know.

So, should they rip up his contract and pay him?

Ndamukong Suh got a six-year deal for $114 million from the Miami Dolphins a couple of years ago, but it’s the Dolphins and they do dumb things. Not that Suh is a bad player, but is he worth that kind of money? No, he’s not. And the Rams might be wise to see what the Philadelphia Eagles did with Fletcher Cox. They gave him some $100 million deal last offseason and he wasn’t good enough to match that money.

Part of me thinks that it’s the nature of the position. Big defensive linemen are generally fat guys. How many fat, physically ambitious people do you know? You can look at Suh, maybe Cox and definitely Albert Haynesworth who were dominant tackles that didn’t/haven’t produced since getting big deals. Will Donald get lazy when he gets paid? The Rams are probably about to find out. I’m not saying he will, but I’m saying that history isn’t on the Rams’ side on this one.

And, while I love dominant disruptive tackles on defense, are they worth it? The Houston Texans had the No. 1-overall pick in 2014. That means, they were the worst team in all of football in 2013…with J.J. Watt. He’s a 3-4 end and not a tackle in a 4-3, but he’s still an incredibly dominant force on the line. And you still blew goats. If I can pay J.J. Watt through the nose and be the worst team in the NFL, then I can not pay him and still be just as bad.

Is it worth it for the Rams to pay Donald? He’s a stud and I’m a huge fan, but you don’t know what his motivation will be after a big contract and you generally suck with him and you can suck just as bad without him.

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