The deadline is today. And in St. Louis a 2009 franchise player could be in for a rude awakening when he hears about his own offer.
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Rams are “strongly considering” offering safety Oshiomogho Atogwe only $1.226 million, in order to secure a right to match any other offer he receives.
As we’ve previously explained (and as some of you have not believed, including the front office of a certain team with lightning on its helmets), the right-of-first-refusal level does not require the team to pay the player 110 percent of his 2009 base salary. In Atogwe’s case, that would be a guaranteed contract of $6.976 million.
And that reference to the Chargers wasn’t gratuitous. It’s our clear understanding that
the San Diego has opted not to extend the lowest-level tender to running back Darren Sproles because the Chargers believe that they’d have to offer Sproles a one-year guaranteed deal worth nearly $7.3 million. (That said, the Chargers have until today to change their minds.)
The Rams in this regard are getting it right. And Thomas thinks that Atogwe could end up being upset.
But he shouldn’t be. He’ll be able to cut his best deal on the open market, and the only thing his prospective new team could be losing is the time and effort spent negotiating the deal, if the Rams match it.
Then there’s the Hutchinson-Burleson poison pill. If the offer sheet contains $40 million in non-guaranteed money that becomes fully guaranteed if he plays five or more games in Missouri or some other factor that would apply to the Rams but not his new team, the Rams surely wouldn’t match the offer.
The bigger question is whether teams will use this still-valid tool — and whether the NFLPA will pitch a fit if they don’t.