The Rams began their 2018 offseason in much of the same way as they spent the majority of their program last year — in the absence of defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The reigning Defensive Player of the Year remained away from the team through the majority of offseason activities in 2017 and all of training camp, before reporting just ahead of the club's Week 1 contest. As is well known, Donald's representation was seeking a contract extension from L.A.
And heading into the close of Phase II in the team's offseason program, it appears as if Donald — who is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract — could stay away from the club for an extended period once again.
Check out photos for the Rams rookies' first day joining Phase 2 of offseason workouts
Despite the absence, head coach Sean McVay remained optimistic about Donald's contract negotiations, mentioning that he and the star defensive tackle have remained in "constant dialogue" since the close of the regular season.
"I haven't really talked specifically with him about some of those things, [but] I know that there is constant communication that has gone back and forth between he and his representation and then our guys," McVay said Tuesday.
Through four seasons with the franchise, Donald has been one of the most dominant defensive forces in the league. Last season was particularly productive for the Pittsburgh product, as he recorded 11.0 sacks and a league-high 91 quarterback pressures.
And for those obvious reasons, signing Donald to a long-term extension remains a high priority for L.A.
"Clearly that is something that we want to be able to be proactive about trying to find a solution. We all know how much we respect and appreciate Aaron and the contributions that he's made," McVay said.
"Not sure what the timetable is on that," he continued. "I wouldn't have a problem if we got something done right now, but we're very positive with the dialogue and we feel good about the rapport that exists between them and our people."