INDIANAPOLIS — One of the consistent storylines around the Rams last year was defensive tackle Aaron Donald's potential contract extension. Donald and the team did not come to an agreement either before or during the 2017 season, but the defensive tackle still tied a career high with 11.0 sacks en route to winning his first AP Defensive Player of the Year award.
Back in January, general manager Les Snead told reporters that at some point during the season, it became clear that both the Rams and Donald's representation were content to table discussions. And now that the offseason is in full swing, it's likely time for those talks to heat up once again.
Head coach Sean McVay said the Rams will get a chance to meet with Donald's representation this week at the 2018 NFL Combine.
"Aaron is somebody that we all know how important he is, and want to be able to come to an agreement on that," McVay said. "And that's something that's a work in progress. And I think we'll have a better update after we get a chance to sit down with his agents.
"But, obviously, Aaron's resume speaks for itself — to get a bunch of Defensive Player of the Year awards," McVay continued. "But I think what he represents [is] all the right things in terms of a guy that's about the right stuff. We definitely want to try to get him taken care of."
Donald has recorded 39.0 sacks and nine forced fumbles in his four years as a pro. He's been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons, and has been named a first-team All-Pro for the last three years.
While neither Snead nor McVay have put a timetable on when the extension may be complete, it's clearly still a priority for the organization.
"When does that actually take place? It's a collaboration of working with his agents and our team," McVay said. "But Aaron is important to us and that's something that we're proactive about every day."
What Donald's situation won't do, however, is affect the Rams' salary-cap status in a way that would preclude the team from making other moves in free agency.
"I think, obviously, Aaron's important," Snead said. "But we've got it budgeted that we'll be able to sign someone tomorrow if Aaron's not first. So that's all worked out."