T.J. McDonald’s free agency time just took a turn for the worst. The former Los Angeles Rams’ safety was suspended eight games for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse, the league announced Wednesday.
McDonald, 26, started all 53 games he’s played in since the Rams selected him with the 71st overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. He was arrested when he hit a parked car in May of 2016, but did the right thing and waited for police to arrive. The suspension stems from when McDonald was formally charged in September and plead guilty in January to a misdemeanor count of reckless driving involving drugs or alcohol.
McDonald was also ordered in January to pay restitution to the driver of the other vehicle, 36 months of summary probation, a $390 fine plus penalty assessments, a three-month alcohol program, 200 hours of court approved community service, and 18 narcotic anonymous classes.
His value in free agency was questionable due to the arrest, and now it’s going to cost him even more money after the suspension. It is likely that when he does find a home, it will probably be on a one-year prove it type of contract. The Rams could bring him back for a lot less money, but is it worth the headache? If it were my decision, I would look elsewhere for another safety.