Dollar signs and Donald signs and exactly what is ‘collusion?’

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Rams

As I’ve said before, the NFL preseason is much like a bar full of average looking and very self-centered people. There might be some scoring…but it probably won’t mean anything.

Teams are looking to separate the wheat from the chaff. They access their rookie talent, secure some depth on the bench, and trim the roster down to 53 players for the regular season.

The Los Angeles Rams chose to sit most of their starters for all four preseason games, so not much should be put into “wins and losses.”

The Rams went 2-2, winning two close-score games and getting blown out in the other two.

In a weird scheduling anomaly, L.A. played the Oakland Raiders in the preseason and will see them again in Week 1 of the regular season. So nothing came from their actual playbook in preseason, making it kind of a throwaway game.

Head Coach Sean McVay states everyone is ready, and it has to be a relief that defensive tackle Aaron Donald finally inked a deal with the franchise.

Donald was a holdout this year, and last.

Contract negotiations were ongoing for a year and a half; during which time Donald was named “Defensive Player of the Year.”

He’s now signed the most lucrative deal for a defensive player in NFL history and he becomes the third highest paid player in the league…on either side of the ball.

Donald will pocket $87 million in guaranteed green out of the $135 million, six-year contract extension.

The Rams have been laying out a lot of cash on contracts.

Veteran running back and current “Offensive Player of the Year” Todd Gurley got a nice big slice for his contract extension and so did OT Rob Havenstein.

Recent acquisitions (WR Brandon Cooks and DT Ndamukong Suh) polished off another huge chunk of the pie.

But Rams owner Stan Kroenke better keep that checkbook handy because several other rookie contracts will soon expire.

On top of that, quarterback Jared Goff will be looking for a much larger paycheck at the end of 2019.

Goff’s improvement last season was unprecedented. It points to how poor the coaching staff was when the Rams returned to Los Angeles, and spotlights what talent(s) can be mined and refined when coaching is strong and focused.

Goff led the Rams to their first division title and playoff appearance in well over a decade. If his production is consistent he will expect compensation commensurate with current market value.

That’s fancy talk for “$$$.”

NFL

After months of arbitration, Colin Kaepernick’s NFL grievance case will now go to trial.

“Trial” being a bit of a misnomer since there will be no judge or jury and the proceedings will be done in private.  So, for all intents and purposes…it’s more arbitration.

Kaepernick claims that owners and coaches colluded to deny him his Collective Bargaining Agreement right to sign with a team.

It appears that much of this case hinges on the definition of (and what actually constitutes) “collusion.”

There is no doubt that owners and coaches spoke to the issue of Kaepernick’s disrespectful vehicle for his protest.

However, registering indignation or disapproval of Kaepernick’s actions is not collusion.

If some “suits and ties” stated that they had no intention of signing a player (for any reason) that alone is not collusion.

Two or more individuals would have to have said, “Let’s keep him out of the league.” And that would have to be documented.

Tearing huge holes in Kaepernick’s claim is the fact that both the Seahawks and Broncos negotiated or made him offers.

It was Kaepernick that refused.

He would not commit to following team or league policy regarding the national anthem and he wanted more money than he’s worth.

To prove collusion, Kaepernick would have to prove that “market value.”

And he cannot.

Common sense would indicate this has no merit…but common sense means nothing in a court of law.

God Bless and enjoy the regular season.

Mark  Felicetti  has gone through arbitration and found that facts, the truth and justice are all optional. Reach him at mark@tolucantimes.com.

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