Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



There’s a report that Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald (ex-Pitt, ex-Penn Hills High School) will not play another down on his current contract. That’s regardless of fines incurred, game checks missed and potentially delaying his free agency. Donald is going to hold out until he gets a new deal.

Good for him.

Donald was NFL Defensive Player of the Year last season, and made first-team All-Pro for the third time in a row. Donald has by far outperformed his contract, which would pay him $6.9 million.

If the NFL had guaranteed contracts, I’d say Donald was in the wrong. That he should show up for work. A deal’s a deal.

But the NFL doesn’t have guaranteed contracts. A deal isn’t a deal. NFL teams can cut players whenever they want. Why shouldn’t a player demand renegotiation when he merits better pay based on performance?

The NFL players work under a crap CBA.

Contracts aren’t guaranteed. Free agency isn’t really free because of the franchise tag. Forget the national anthem issue, or not testing for marijuana. The NFL Players Association must rectify what’s important, not sideshow nonsense.

I admire Donald for his stance, especially because the Rams have already paid Todd Gurley and lesser cogs Brandin Cooks and Ndamukong Suh.

Some say an agreement is close. I hope so, for the Rams’ sake. They have a good team, but zero chance of making the Super Bowl without Donald.

I respect Le’Veon Bell’s course of action, too.

But Bell should have taken the Steelers’ most recent offer (five years, $70 million, $33m paid over the first two seasons). Bell may get marginally more when he hits free agency in 2019. But he may also have a rotten year, or blow out his knee. The minuscule gain isn’t worth the risk taken.

Photo courtesy of GettyImages

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