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  1. #1
    Nick's Avatar
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    Atogwe's contract is really only one-year, $4.1 million deal

    Atogwe's contract is really only one-year, $4.1 million deal
    Five-year deal likely will be voided well before entire $32 million is due
    By Howard Balzer
    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    When is a $32 million contract not a $32 million contract? In the case of Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, it occurs when the final four years of his five-year deal can void after this season, and when the contract includes potential compensation of $11.5 million in 2011 if the void doesn’t occur.

    In essence, the contract Atogwe signed two weeks ago is a one-year, $4.1 million deal with all the money now guaranteed this year. However, there are no other known guarantees included in the contract.

    Broken down year-by-year, the total value of the contract is $32.1 million. That figure does not include a $500,000 bonus for making the Pro Bowl in any of the five years, but it can be earned only once. The $32.1 million total also doesn’t include up to $600,000 in yearly escalators, the triggers of which are not known.

    This year, Atogwe will be paid $2.1 million in guaranteed salary, and he received a roster bonus of $2 million on July 1. After this season is where things get interesting.

    The bottom line is that the remainder of the contract will likely void one day after the Feb. 6 Super Bowl, or he will be released later in the month before an $8 million roster bonus is due. If he were paid that roster bonus, then an additional $3.5 million in salary becomes guaranteed if he’s on the roster on the 60th day of the league year, which would be at the beginning of May.

    The final three years of the contract include base salaries of $5.5 million in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, a $500,000 roster bonus is due on the third day of the league year, followed by $5 million in salary.

    It is not known what triggers the void of the final four years of the contract; whether it is automatic or whether the Rams and/or Atogwe have the option to void. There would be no reason for Atogwe to void the deal because that would give the Rams the ability to place a franchise tag on him unless that is prohibited within the terms of the contract. From his standpoint, it would be better to wait and see if the Rams pay him the roster bonus. If they don’t, he becomes a free agent.

    Were the Rams to void the deal, they could franchise him while still trying to negotiate a longer-term contract. That would be considered the prudent action from the Rams’ side, especially considering the possibility of a lockout. In any event, it appears highly unlikely that Atogwe will play for the Rams in 2011 under terms of the current contract.

    The details of the deal also indicate the lack of significant interest from other teams after he became a free agent on June 2.

    Atogwe spoke to that during a June 23 conference call after he agreed to terms when he was asked what the biggest eye-opener was after becoming a free agent. He said, “To me it was really the state of the league as I viewed it and viewed it from the perspective of how some of my peers were also being treated or what they were experiencing. Just the state of the league and the impending lockout that’s pretty much upon us come 2011, because I believe that shaped a lot of negotiations, a lot of interest in this 2010 free agency period. It’s real, and I believe a lot of players now who are looking to get extensions, looking to do long-term deals are actually feeling the brunt, feeling the impact of that coming. To me, if anything, that was the most eye-opening information that I received.”

    Atogwe also gave a hint about his Rams contract during that conference call.

    Asked if he was grateful that the Rams gave him a long-term deal, Atogwe said, “We were able to structure the deal in a way that it would benefit both of us.” In crediting his agent, Ken Landphere, Atogwe said that Landphere came up with “not an unusual, but a special way to get the contract done.”

    That “special way” obviously was the mechanism that could at best make him a free agent or finally receive a long-term deal from the Rams, or at worst be franchised again at a figure likely to be more than $6 million.

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  2. #2
    39thebeast's Avatar
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    Re: Atogwe's contract is really only one-year, $4.1 million deal

    Kevin Demoff Works his magic once again. All things considered with a new CBA looming I think its a good deal. OJ is coming off injury and a down year hernnia and shoulder surgery and he is 28. We essentially put a franchise tag on him at less than half of the price. With a new CBA you could come back to the table and workout a better contract or we could just move on and look for a younger option. OJ wins too because he hopefully enters a new CBA with a chance to join all 32 teams without restriction

  3. #3
    Keenum's Avatar
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    Re: Atogwe's contract is really only one-year, $4.1 million deal

    Very interesting. In hindsight, it looks like the Rams knew what they were doing all along. Good move Mr. Demoff!

  4. #4
    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Atogwe's contract is really only one-year, $4.1 million deal

    Yes, very interesting as Keenum said. That small print becomes large type all of a sudden!

    Still, it's good to have O.J. secure this year and ... well, we'll take it from there. May he have a great season and form an even better relationship with the Rams for the future.

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