Sean McVay says Rams have had 'increased dialogue' with Aaron Donald as holdout continues

The preseason is underway and the regular season is less than a month away, and the Rams' best player is still missing. Aaron Donald, the best defensive player in football, continues to remain away from the team as he seeks a new long-term contract. 

That's the bad news. The good news is that the two sides have had "increased dialogue," according to Rams coach Sean McVay.

"There's been -- let's put it this way, there's increased dialogue," McVay said Saturday, via NFL.com. "There's more -- we feel positive about the direction that these things are going."

Still, that doesn't mean we should expect Donald to end his holdout in the near future. As CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported last week, the Rams "don't anticipate him participating in any preseason games." A year ago, Donald didn't report until the regular season, which resulted in his absence in Week 1, but it didn't impact much in the long term considering Donald went on to win Defensive Player of the Year.

Add in the fact that the Rams signed Ndamukong Suh this offseason and that's probably why they aren't panicking about Donald's absence, as La Canfora wrote.

But I certainly don't get the sense that they are freaking out over the matter. The front office, if anything, seems to be taking a pragmatic and reasoned approach to this contractual stalemate and, in Ndamukong Suh, they have a unique version of what amounts to Donald insurance, landing the former Pro Bowl on a one-year, team-friendly contract early in the offseason to guard against just such a loggerhead with Donald this summer again.

That being said, McVay talked about how the team is operating with more urgency.

"I think there's a level of urgency that's being displayed from us," McVay said. "I know that they know how much we value him and appreciate Aaron. Hopefully, we'll see some things change on that front sooner than later, but it's still kind of in the same boat."

Donald, 27, has been arguably the game's best defensive player for a couple seasons now. Even though he plays on the interior of the defensive line, he's still managed to rack up 39 sacks in four seasons while remaining stout against the run, which is why he's been named First Team All-Pro three times, which is also why he wants to be paid more than the $6,892,000 he's scheduled to earn in 2018.

For the Rams, the presence of Suh gives them some insurance in the event Donald's holdout extends into the regular season. But the Rams are entering the season with Super Bowl aspirations. So it's imperative that they find a way to end the standoff with Donald sooner rather than later. 

The Rams open up the regular season against the Raiders, Cardinals, and Chargers.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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