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    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Atogwe's deal doesn't provide security he wanted ..

    BY JIM THOMAS Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2010 10:15 am

    At face value, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe's new contract with the Rams is worth $31.6 million over five years. But because of the way it's structured, it very well could be only a one-year, $4.1 million deal if the Rams are unwilling to pay an $8 million roster bonus due next February.

    According to figures filed with the NFL Players Association, Atogwe receives base salaries of $2.1 million this year, $3.5 million in 2011, $5.5 million in '12 and '13, and $5 million in 2014. That all adds up to $21.6 million.

    The additional $10 million (of the $31.6 million total) comes into play as follows:

    • Atogwe received a $2 million roster bonus on July 1.

    • He is scheduled to receive an $8 million roster bonus on Feb. 21, 2011.

    Obviously, $8 million is a lot of money. If Atogwe has a very good season, the Rams probably will pay the bonus. If he doesn't, they probably won't.

    Atogwe can void the contract himself if he's still on the Rams' roster by Feb. 7, the day after the Super Bowl in Dallas. But Atogwe's ability to void almost certainly won't be exercised.

    Why not wait two weeks to see if the Rams pay him the $8 million roster bonus. If they do, he stays. If they don't, well, that means he's released anyway, and becomes a free agent.

    Because of the way the contract is structured — with the void clause and the big roster bonus due in February — the possibility of getting the franchise tag goes away. It is not an option.

    Overall, the nature of how the deal is structured is the latest unusual twist in Atogwe's contract history with the Rams.

    He has gone from restricted free agent in 2008, to franchise player in 2009 then back to restricted free agent in March 2010 — before signing a five-year deal on June 25 that may in fact be a one-year deal.

    Atogwe has been seeking the relative security of a multi-year deal for three years and still may not have it.

    In another interesting feature of the deal, even though Atogwe isn't due the $8 million until after the 2010 season, that money counts against this season's payroll.

    True, there is no salary cap this year. But if there is one in 2011, the Rams won't have to count that $8 million against the '11 cap, in theory freeing up more money to sign players.

    No matter how it's counted, the Rams still have to shell out $8 million in late February if they want to keep Atogwe. And that's a lot of money.

    A few other features of Atogwe's deal:

    • He earns a one-time incentive of $500,000 if he makes the Pro Bowl in any of the five seasons of the contract.

    • He's eligible to earn up to $600,000 in additional base salary over each of the final four years of the contract if he meets the requirements of an escalator clause.

    • His 2010 base salary ($2.1 million) is guaranteed.

    • His 2011 base salary ($3.5 million) is guaranteed if he's on the roster on the 60th day of the "league year." That year usually starts the first week of March. In this case, if the Rams decide to pay Atogwe the $8 million roster bonus on Feb. 21, 2011, he almost certainly will be on the roster by the first week of May, and thus have his '11 base salary guaranteed.

    • Atogwe also receives a $500,000 roster bonus if he's on the team roster at the start of the 2014 league year.

    Add up all the roster bonuses, incentives, and escalators and Atogwe's contract could max out at $35 million.

    From a Rams standpoint, it would be money well spent, because it would mean that Atogwe had played at a high level over the length of the contract.
    Last edited by MauiRam; -07-22-2010 at 01:00 PM.

  2. #2
    sosa39rams's Avatar
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    Re: Atogwe's deal doesn't provide security he wanted ..

    Thanks for breaking it down like this! And also looks like the rams did another great job this offseason.

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    Azul e Oro is offline Registered User
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    Re: Atogwe's deal doesn't provide security he wanted ..

    Quote Originally Posted by sosa39rams View Post
    Thanks for breaking it down like this! And also looks like the rams did another great job this offseason.
    Second the motion of thanks. I don't know if I've ever read a more thorough & understandable contract break down. Nice job , JT.

    And the more we read about Demoff's efforts, the more impressive this young man's work on our team's behalf becomes, imo. It's unfortunate that The Rams are stuck with signing a #1 pick at this unique moment in NFL history but I'm glad it's Demoff who'll make Sam a Ram.

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