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For the second consecutive year, the Los Angeles Rams had to wait for star defensive end Aaron Donald to report to training camp. Donald even missed Week 1 last year due to the holdout, not reporting until September 9th.

Fortunately for Rams fans, the Aaron Donald holdout of 2018 has reached its conclusion. Reports point to a resolution that will make Donald one of the league’s highest-paid players.

It looks like it was worth the wait, for him anyway. He’ll be getting a 6-year, $135 million, including $87 million guaranteed. This makes him the richest defensive player in football, period.

Getting Back To Practice

Donald wanted to be the highest paid defensive player and his results to date, including making the Pro Bowl every year since 2014, suggests that those demands were realistic.

The Rams are ready to have him back at practice. Running back Todd Gurley and quarterback Jared Goff will now have to see the imposing Donald across the line at practice. New signee Ndamukong Suh will finally have his star teammate alongside him. Donald’s return to practice can help boost the team, though many would argue the intensity that Donald brings is best saved for the regular season. Thankfully, the season is almost here.

End Of The Holdout

The Rams project to have over $44 million in cap space in 2019 and almost twice that in 2020. As a result, the team can afford to sign Donald without sacrificing resigning other talents in the years ahead.

No team ever re-signs all their stars, though the Rams seem likely to be able to afford players like Michael Brockers, Marcus Peters, Lamarcus Joyner and Rodger Saffold as their contracts expire in 2019 and 2020. When looking at the Rams’ payroll, fans should feel confident in rooting for a Donald extension, thus securing an excellent player without significantly sacrificing how the team can afford future contracts.

Now, Donald just has to prove that he’s worth the money.

Sports Al Dente 2019

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