Aaron Donald is rated by some football pundits as the best player in the NFL regardless of position, and he just ended his holdout with the LA Rams. He did not wait until the eighth week of the season as I suspected, and he has not been given a new contract. The two sides say that they will work on a new deal now that he is back with the team, and he will not play in their week one game. The "terrible bowl" is still on, and Donald is probably not happy. How ugly can this situation get for LA since they have not paid him?

He can refuse contracts

The Rams could offer Donald anything at this point to entice him to sign, and he could reject every single contract they offer him.

He might force the Rams to sign him to franchise tag contracts until he can test Free Agency. Donald could force the Rams to trade him if they think they cannot sign him, or he could force them to give him the richest contract in the history of the league. The Rams would spend all their money on this one player, and they would be overspending because they did not choose to take care of him early on.

The lessons of Dalton and Cousins

Cincinnati paid Andy Dalton early, and they have cap flexibility. He is a very rich man, and the team can afford to sign other people. The Redskins have not signed Kirk Cousins, and he is ready to test free agency because he does not believe the team wants him. The Redskins are paying far too much money to Cousins because they did not give him an early contract, and they will pay the price when they no longer have a quarterback.

The Rams should have seen this scenario as a nightmare for their young team. They must have known that giving Donald a pay raise today would give them more flexibility to work around him. They have painted themselves into a corner, and they probably cannot get out at this point. Donald has an agent, and agents are smart enough to know how to leverage their position.

His agent might tell the Rams, "you know, if you had paid us sooner, this would not be a problem." That sounds like a recipe for a contract stalemate.

The team is still terrible

The Rams burned up all this good will with Donald, and their team did not get any better. It would have been a good signal to other players that they will be taken care of if Donald was paid properly in a new contract. The Rams could sell their team on the idea that they will be paid based on merit, but their owner has proven that he does not care what you earn. He will pay you when he is good and ready.