Rams' Suh: Aaron Donald "deserves more than what I got"
Suh knows all about the perils of contract negotiations, and he hopes Donald can get a deal soon to unite them on Los Angeles' potentially fearsome defensive line.
''Ultimately, I wish him all the best,'' Suh said Friday after practice at UC Irvine. ''He deserves more than what I got, so I'll kind of leave it at that.''
The 31-year-old Suh got a one-year, $14 million deal to join the Rams as a free agent after eight seasons as one of the NFL's best defensive linemen. Donald is scheduled to make nearly $6.9 million this season in the final year of his rookie contract, but is widely believed to be seeking a record-setting deal that will make him one of the league's highest-paid players.
Donald skipped the Rams' offseason activities after Suh's signing, and he is holding out of training camp for the second consecutive year. Suh and Donald spoke briefly after Suh signed, but they still don't know much about each other.
Suh hopes that will change soon, but he's staying out of any talks between Donald and the Rams.
''Always want to have an opportunity to practice with Aaron,'' Suh said. ''He's a guy that I've watched from afar, and (I'll) hopefully have an opportunity sometime soon to get on the same field and be on the same side of the ball.''
Suh was free to sign with the Rams after the Miami Dolphins dropped him three seasons into a six-year, $114 million deal. That mammoth contract was structured in a way that made it almost impossible for Suh to be allowed to play out its entire length, and Suh ended up making $60 million for three years of work.
When he looked for a new challenge, Suh decided to team up with Donald and Michael Brockers on defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' front line. Suh primarily will be a nose tackle in Los Angeles for the first time in his career, but he has ample experience at every possible position on a defensive line.
''The biggest thing I'm excited about position-wise is being able to play the nose, the tackle and the 5-technique (lining up outside the offensive tackle), being able to play all of them and being able to use me in every single facet,'' Suh said. ''The one thing that I've learned when I've been a part of an elite defense, no particular guy has any position. They can play all of them.''
Donald also plays just about anywhere, and his absence ultimately might not have much effect on his performance. He was the NFL's defensive player of the year last season despite missing all of training camp and the season opener due to his first holdout.
Suh isn't sure how his partnership with Donald will work, but he is confident in the strength of the defense being built by Phillips. Cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib also joined Los Angeles in the offseason, adding an influx of veteran talent to an already solid unit.
Suh has enjoyed getting to know his new teammates at UC Irvine while staying in the dorms - something he hadn't done since college at Nebraska. Although he has a reputation for headstrong play at times, Suh is mostly relaxed and jovial around the Rams.
Suh is also getting along well with coach Sean McVay, who grinningly declined to disclose the nature of a bet that he lost to Suh earlier in the week - after Suh jumped into his news conference to ask him about it.
''He's been fun to be around,'' McVay said. ''I think once we actually put the pads on, when you're really playing real football, we'll get a really good feel. But you certainly feel his presence.''
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