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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

    Atogwe will skip offseason programs

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    03/12/2010


    A year ago at this time, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe showed up for the start of the Rams' offseason conditioning program and took part in minicamps, OTAs (organized team activities) and training camp.

    He didn't miss a thing even though he was named the team's franchise player, an unpopular designation for players seeking long-term deals.

    But that won't be the case this year. The Rams' offseason conditioning program begins Monday, and Atogwe will not be in attendance. In fact, barring a change in contract status, Atogwe will be a no-show at all team activities this spring and summer, according to league sources.

    Atogwe and his agent have declined comment since the Rams last week tendered Atogwe at $1.226 million, the lowest possible tender as a restricted free agent for someone with Atogwe's experience level in the NFL.

    Those who know Atogwe say he's not angry, that he gets it — he understands this is the business side of the NFL. Nonetheless, those close to Atogwe say he isn't sure what to make of the Rams' low tender offer and wonders if the Rams might be dangling him as potential trade bait.

    At the low tender level, the Rams have matching rights if Atogwe gets an offer from another team. But the Rams get no draft pick compensation if they decide not to match. But if Atogwe does get an outside offer, there's nothing to stop the Rams from telling the other team: "We won't match if you give us a draft pick."

    This is the third offseason in a row that Atogwe has sought a long-term deal. He played as a restricted free agent in 2008 under a one-year tender of just over $2 million. Last year, he played for $6.34 million as the Rams' franchise player.

    Had the Rams tendered Atogwe at any other level this offseason, he would've been entitled to $6.976 million in 2010, or 110 percent of what he made last year. So at the moment the low tender is costing him $5.75 million

    The collective bargaining agreement hasn't been kind to Atogwe. Because 2010 is an uncapped year, Atogwe reverted back to restricted free agency status this offseason. With five years NFL experience, he would have been eligible for unrestricted free agency in a year with a salary cap. But in an uncapped year, it takes six years experience to be unrestricted.

    On Monday, when the Rams' start their offseason conditioning program, Atogwe will be in Hawaii for the NFL Players Association's annual convention. Once he returns, he will continue his rehab from shoulder surgery and work out on his own away from Rams Park. Before suffering the shoulder injury Dec. 6 against Chicago, Atogwe had started 60 consecutive games for St. Louis. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2006, Atogwe has more interceptions and forced fumbles than any player in the league.

    RAM-BLINGS

    — Leonard Little's free-agent trip to New Orleans was canceled and may be rescheduled at a later date. All signs point to the Saints targeting another Rams free-agent defensive end — James Hall.

    — C Hank Fraley, released recently by Cleveland, was scheduled to arrive in St. Louis on Thursday night for a visit.

    — Is DT Adam Carriker on the trading block? The Washington Redskins have approached the Rams about Carriker, according to the NFL Network. Rams general manager Billy Devaney did not return a phone message from the Post-Dispatch Thursday.


  2. #2
    shower beers's Avatar
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    Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

    He has every right to do this. The FO has been messing around with him for way too long, and he's been nothing but professional and classy up to this point. The man deserves to stop being yanked around like this, one way or the other.

  3. #3
    Bralidore(RAMMODE)'s Avatar
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    Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

    Quote Originally Posted by shower beers View Post
    He has every right to do this. The FO has been messing around with him for way too long, and he's been nothing but professional and classy up to this point. The man deserves to stop being yanked around like this, one way or the other.
    How is he really being yanked around? You can't just pay a guy w/e he wants especially if he's expendable (although a good player). Who knows how much Atogwe wants in a contract and seeing as he has yet to pass a shoulder evaluation you can see how people are reluctant to offer Atogwe a long term deal. You don't overpay guys just because they want you to. This is simply the nature of the business and guys holdout...

    Tough negotiations.

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    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

    Yet another PD article trying to get fans riled up without substantial evidence, imo. OJ will be in Hawaii for the start of the conditioning program. He's rehabbing an injury which is often done away from a team facility.What's the big deal?

    I'd be a lot more concerned if OJ was plane-hopping around the NFL than I am about anything JT's league sources purportedly tell him or even if the usual game of contract chicken keeps him away from OTAs later on.

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    Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bralidore(RAMMODE) View Post
    How is he really being yanked around? You can't just pay a guy w/e he wants especially if he's expendable (although a good player). Who knows how much Atogwe wants in a contract and seeing as he has yet to pass a shoulder evaluation you can see how people are reluctant to offer Atogwe a long term deal. You don't overpay guys just because they want you to. This is simply the nature of the business and guys holdout...

    Tough negotiations.

    My point is that he hasn't had this shoulder injury for three years. We've had plenty of time to either sign him or move on, so he has every right to make his voice heard in this manner. I'm agreeing that players hold out. I'm not sure what you're getting at with your post. You admit that we don't know the details of his contract negotiations, rather how much he is asking for, but later imply that he's asking for too much.

  6. #6
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    Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

    Quote Originally Posted by shower beers View Post
    My point is that he hasn't had this shoulder injury for three years. We've had plenty of time to either sign him or move on, so he has every right to make his voice heard in this manner. I'm agreeing that players hold out. I'm not sure what you're getting at with your post. You admit that we don't know the details of his contract negotiations, rather how much he is asking for, but later imply that he's asking for too much.
    Is it reaching to assume he wants more then the FO is willing to pay for him? I doubt he's asking for his market value, otherwise, he'd probably be in the books already. My guess is, he's asking for money based off of his turnover performance and its comparison to the rest of the league safeties, and the front office is looking at his long term value, overall ability, and is he's expendable or not.

    I didn't say in anyway he's asking for too much, all i said was that he's obviosuly asking for more then the FO is willing to pay.

    Also, the Front Office 3 years ago isn't the same as the one we have now, though it is the same one we had last year, and he was tendered then. Now we crack back open the negotiations and the tender option isn't as pretty because he would require a 10 percent raise over his previous contract, which was already fairly lofty in the minds of some.

    My point is, its easy to jump on the player's side of things like this because you like the players and you watch them on the field, nto caring about the stuff that happens behind closed doors as long as it doesn't affect your football viewing experience. When it does people tend to be like "what the hell" and think that its simple to get a contract taken care of, pay the guy what he wants so he's back in <insert team colors here> next year.

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    helorm341 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

    OJ was certainly a class act last year but who knows what contract he is trying to get this year? If he is demanding 7mil a year, do you still side with Atogwe? We don't have enough info to really take sides one way or another. I just hope this gets resolved with Atogwe being a Ram still while not having a huge contract (anything over 5.5M a year)

  8. #8
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    Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

    I certainly can't blame him.

    Football is a business and one of our best players, if not our best defensive player, was jilted in a big way because of it. It's a real kick in the teeth for a really promising player and I don't think a good business decision. He has every right to react the way he has and I'd like to hope that this will have blown over by the end of the offseason. I really hope they reach a deal, but I can't see it happening now that Atogwe has been shown exactly where he stands as a member of this franchise.

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    Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

    Is it too late to trade this guy ? Not even sure if you can trade a rfa.

  10. #10
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

    O.J. has proven to be a ballhawk on the field, and a model citizen off the field. He also displayed character and good faith by participating last year in off season team activities while under the franchise tag. (It wasn't like he got low-balled with that guaranteed multimillion dollar payday either.) That said, the NFL is a business, and like any other business the bottom line is usually the governing factor in personnel decisions.

    Atogwe has displayed an uncanny ability to strip ball carriers along with the athleticism and ball skills to make interceptions. However, he is not a big hitter, and isn't particularly strong at the point of attack. It is very possible that DeSpags would like a bigger more physical type to man the free safety spot. They've made no secret of the fact they wish to get bigger across the board on defense.

    If no team throws crazy money at O.J., he'll likely be a Ram in 2010. There have been ongoing negotiations with him for a contract extension, and it is fairly obvious Atogwe and his agent/agents are asking more money than our current management feels he's worth.

    Billy, Spags, and Demoff have been entrusted with managing all aspects of the Rams' team. I believe they have performed their due diligence in this matter, and since they couldn't cut a deal with him after prolonged negotiations, felt it best that he test the market and find out for himself if he is really worth the money he's asking for. I find it significant that eight days into free agency no team has rushed out and made him a crazy money offer to date. Remember that even though the Rams put forth a tender which won't bring a mandatory draft choice, should he sign an offer sheet with another team, there is nothing to prevent the Rams from saying: We won't match if you'll throw in a draft pick ..

    Lastly let's remember what happened with Daniel Fells who supposedly was very close to signing with the Patriots .. The Rams essentially let Danny test the market, and then jumped right back in and signed him up again. There is a good chance this scenario will repeat itself with Atogwe. This really isn't personal, the Rams brain trust is merely doing what they've been hired and entrusted to do: get the most value for team dollars. I doubt very much we'll see any more Drew Bennett type acquisitions on their watch ..

  11. #11
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    Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

    Quote Originally Posted by MauiRam View Post
    O.J. has proven to be a ballhawk on the field, and a model citizen off the field. He also displayed character and good faith by participating last year in off season team activities while under the franchise tag. (It wasn't like he got low-balled with that guaranteed multimillion dollar payday either.) That said, the NFL is a business, and like any other business the bottom line is usually the governing factor in personnel decisions.

    Atogwe has displayed an uncanny ability to strip ball carriers along with the athleticism and ball skills to make interceptions. However, he is not a big hitter, and isn't particularly strong at the point of attack. It is very possible that DeSpags would like a bigger more physical type to man the free safety spot. They've made no secret of the fact they wish to get bigger across the board on defense.

    If no team throws crazy money at O.J., he'll likely be a Ram in 2010. There have been ongoing negotiations with him for a contract extension, and it is fairly obvious Atogwe and his agent/agents are asking more money than our current management feels he's worth.

    Billy, Spags, and Demoff have been entrusted with managing all aspects of the Rams' team. I believe they have performed their due diligence in this matter, and since they couldn't cut a deal with him after prolonged negotiations, felt it best that he test the market and find out for himself if he is really worth the money he's asking for. I find it significant that eight days into free agency no team has rushed out and made him a crazy money offer to date. Remember that even though the Rams put forth a tender which won't bring a mandatory draft choice, should he sign an offer sheet with another team, there is nothing to prevent the Rams from saying: We won't match if you'll throw in a draft pick ..

    Lastly let's remember what happened with Daniel Fells who supposedly was very close to signing with the Patriots .. The Rams essentially let Danny test the market, and then jumped right back in and signed him up again. There is a good chance this scenario will repeat itself with Atogwe. This really isn't personal, the Rams brain trust is merely doing what they've been hired and entrusted to do: get the most value for team dollars. I doubt very much we'll see any more Drew Bennett type acquisitions on their watch ..
    Great Post, fans get so emotional and attahed to players that they get mad at the FO when things like this occured. Atogwe is good but not irreplaceable, and if he's asking for too much cash then you have to force a contract down his throat in essence by showing him what he's worth, ie. letting him test the market. There is a reason we're sitting at home specualting, that's because we don't ahve the expertise, the inside information, and for some, the sense to think out the entire situation and realize what's going on. You can't get too emotionally attached to a player or you'll be stuck with mediocre (not calling atogwe mediocre) guys that are nice....

    NFL is a business not a buddy fest. Rams are playing it smart in my opinion.

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