A looming decision for the Rams and safety O.J. Atogwe.
Last off-season, the St. Louis Rams signed safety Oshiomogho Atogwe to a 5 year contract. It came with one stipulation: the team had the option to void the contract after the first year, prior to owing Atogwe an $8 million roster bonus.
The team, in fact, decided to void the contract–ultimately making Atogwe a free agent.
Atogwe was a 2005 3rd round draft pick out of Stanford. He is an extremely bright man with solid leadership assets. He is undoubtedly a leader in the locker room and a “quarterback” for the defense and head coach Steve Spagnuolo.
At this time last year, Atogwe was free to talk with other teams as well. His best offer came from St. Louis–and there may be some reasoning for this.
Atogwe does have some ball-hawking skills. He has 22 career interceptions–but 8 of them came in the 2007-2008 season. Since then his totals have dropped from 5, 3, to 2 in 2010-2011. With all that being said, the Rams did utilize Atogwe more as a strong safety last season. He blitzed off the edge a lot more, hence limiting his chances for interceptions. He did have 2 sacks and and 2 forced fumbles to compensate.
In the end, I believe Atogwe will resign with St. Louis. He has a lot of respect for Spagnuolo and the rest of his teammates…especially on the defensive side of the ball. Unfortunately for Atogwe, his skill set does not match his monetary desires. Unless a team takes the bait, the Rams will do all they can to retain O.J.