Rams say adios to Atogwe

NFL_atogwe_250-1.jpgWhen the clock struck 12 in St. Louis (technically, 11:00 p.m. local time), Rams safety O.J. Atogwe became a restricted free agent with no restrictions.

Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reports the change in Atogwe’s status, which occurred due to a provision of the labor deal requiring teams to re-issue RFA tenders on June 1, and which would have required the Rams to offer Atogwe nearly $7 million in order to keep him.

The move comes as no surprise.  When the Rams opted to tender Atogwe at the lowest possible level — the only level that did not allow the $1.226 million offer to be trumped by 110 percent of his 2009 franchise-player salary — it became obvious that the Rams wouldn’t be re-issuing the tender three months later, when the rules require the team to offer at least 110 percent of the prior year’s salary, regardless of the level that previously was tendered.

Per Balzer, the Rams tried throughout the day to work out a new deal with Atogwe.  It’s possible that Atogwe simply wanted to hit the open market.  It’s more likely that his agent had gauged the market in March and/or April, and that Atogwe knows what other teams are willing to pay.

Unless Atogwe wants much more than any team will offer, he shouldn’t be on the market for long.  Indeed, by now his agent should know exactly who’s interested, and exactly what they’ll pay.

Balzer points out that potentially interested teams include the Cowboys, 49ers, Vikings, and Dolphins.  The Eagles reportedly will not be pursuing Atogwe.

Of course, it’s also possible that Atogwe will find that no one else is willing to pay him as much as the Rams would pay, and that he’ll decide to stay put.

Another issue that Atogwe will face is his ability to pass a physical.  He finished the 2009 season with a potentially serious shoulder injury.

Because Atogwe did not become an unrestricted free agent as currently defined by the CBA (i.e., a player with six or more years of service whose contract expired), the “Final Eight Plan” does not apply, allowing the Cowboys and the Vikings (and the Jets and the Saints) to pursue him without limitations.

21 responses to “Rams say adios to Atogwe

  1. OJ Atogwe Come on down you are on the Detroit Lions!! Right beside Louis “the missile” Delmas! And KVB and Suh will make sure you get at least 8 interceptions again.

  2. Alright Angelo, step up to the plate, a Chris Harris / Atogwe tandem would be awesome.

  3. c’mon chicago! fill the slot for safety thats been voided since mark carrier retired!

  4. OJ Atogwe Come on down!! You are on the Detroit Lions!! Running mate will be Delmas. Of Course, Suh and KVB will make sure you wont wait long for the INT’s , how about we match that 8 interceptions you had a couple years ago. Cover 2 with those two guys would be awesome!!

  5. The Eagles need to pick up Atogwe especially since Marlin Jackson is done for the year. This MUST happen!!!!

  6. We (the Jags) might as well have Willie Nelson playing safety after watching Reggie Nelson phantom tackle and get burned by play action fakes. My mother could cover Dallas Clark better. Bring aboard Atogwe, Mr. Smith, please!!
    ..and PLEASE…no more first round gators!!!..I know that was Shack..

  7. Never heard of this dude…i guess thats what happens when u play for the lou

  8. probably every fan is rooting for their team to pick him up. When that happens Jerry Jones or Dan Synder usually step on their willies. I look for large contract followed by a release in a couple of years.

  9. Sorry guys, no way Otogwe goes to the Bears. They consider themselves set with the reacquisition of Harris and drafting of Major Wright, who may actually be behind Danielle Manning on the depth chart at the start of the season.

  10. Otogwe fits what the 49ers do on defense. He was also dating Singletary’s daughter at one point(not sure if they still are) so there is a personal connection there too. Bringing Otogwe onto the team makes perfect sense.

  11. J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS………make this move and solidify secondary as the best in the league and keep your defense @ #1 for the second year in a row….even though its going to be with or without him hes a nice addition

  12. this would be a good move for the vikes and they have the cap space after loosing hicks and taylor to free agency. not sure if it is our tampa-2 scheme or what, but our safeties have been terrible the last four years. look at sharper. the guy was absolutely garbage when he played for the vikings, thought he was done. gets traded to the aggressive williams/saints defense and has a pro bowl year…hope this would not happen to O.J.

  13. @ ninjapleazee Mark Carrier ??? Really?? So you don’t think Mike Brown was better for longer than Mark Carrier? But yes, Otogwe would look good in Navy and Orange, and not Fake Blue aka Denver.

  14. I don’t see why the 49ers would be interested. We have Goldson who is young and Lewis who is good and we just drafted Mays. That would be a lot of money to dump into the safety position. The Steelers make sense, as do the Cowboys and the Lions.

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