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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Strange Day At Rams Park

    Strange day at Rams Park

    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    03/05/2010

    On the eve of free agency, a period in which most NFL teams break out their wallets, the Rams symbolically put theirs back in their pocket.

    In an unusual move, the Rams officially tendered strong safety Oshiomogho Atogwe at the lowest level possible Thursday as a restricted free agent the right-of-first-refusal level. Should Atogwe get an outside offer from another team and the Rams decide not to match, the Rams would get no draft pick compensation.

    "It's a risky move," said one league insider familiar with the Atogwe situation. "It's almost like they're trying to get too cute on this one."

    For now, the move saves the team $5.75 million. Had the Rams tendered Atogwe at any of the four other available levels original draft pick, second-round draft pick, first-round draft pick, first- and third-round draft picks Atogwe would have been due $6,976,000. Instead, at the right-of-first-refusal level, Atogwe gets only $1,226,000.

    Neither Atogwe nor his agent could be reached for comment Thursday. Atogwe could force the Rams' hand simply by not signing the tender. The Rams would then have the option to either release him by June 1 or pay him the full $6,976,000. In doing so, they could run the risk of alienating Atogwe to the point where he could skip all of the offseason program until June 1.

    It's doubtful the move will go over big in the locker room. With 10 days to go before the start of the team's offseason conditioning program, Rams players remain scattered all over the country. But one player's reply to the move, via text message Thursday, was: "What!!!"

    Even with matching rights, another team could drop in a so-called poison pill or expensive clause that could make it difficult for the Rams to match on Atogwe. The Rams obviously feel confident that Atogwe is not a $7 million player, and he probably isn't.

    But he's arguably one of the two best players along with middle linebacker James Laurinaitis on the Rams' defense. As one veteran NFL coach told the Post-Dispatch last week in evaluating the Rams' defense, "To me, other than Atogwe in the back end, I think their secondary's bad."

    It was a strange day all around at Rams Park.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger was there Thursday, but it's unclear whether he met with team officials. It's looking more and more as if Bulger has played his last game with the club, but the Rams don't have to be in a hurry to cut or trade him not until they execute a trade for a veteran quarterback, or see Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen throw at their pro days.

    Offensive guard Richie Incognito, released by the Rams in December, also was there to pick up some things. Incognito finished the season with Buffalo but was not tendered by the Bills. He is drawing interest from several teams and was told by the Rams that they might have some interest in re-signing him.

    The Rams completed their tender process by tendering safety Craig Dahl at the right-of-first-refusal level, the same as Atogwe. They did not tender tight end Daniel Fells or defensive tackle Gary Gibson, meaning both become the equivalent of unrestricted free agents today, the start of the free agency and trading period. The decision not to tender Fells leaves the Rams with only two tight ends under contract with any appreciable NFL experience: Billy Bajema and recently signed Derek Fine.

    Only five of the Rams' 13 restricted free agents have received tender offers from the club: Atogwe, Dahl, defensive end Victor Adeyanju, offensive tackle Alex Barron and defensive tackle Clifton Ryan.

    The eight who did not receive tenders are free today to shop the market, no strings attached: Fells, Gibson, defensive back Eric Bassey, running back Samkon Gado, wide receiver Ruvell Martin, long snapper Ryan Neill, guard-center Mark Setterstrom and cornerback Jonathan Wade.

    The Rams also continue to work on their own list of unrestricted free agents, most notably defensive ends James Hall and Leonard Little. Little still hasn't committed to playing in 2010, although he is said to be leaning that way.

    Little lives in Charlotte, N.C., and it's rumored that the Carolina Panthers could be interested in signing him, particularly with Julius Peppers headed out the door.

    "If they would call, I would really have to consider it," Little told the Charlotte Observer on Thursday.

    Three former Rams assistant coaches, including defensive line coach Brian Baker, are on the current Carolina staff, and Little thinks highly of Baker.

    "He's been a great inspiration to me, off the field and on the field," Little told the Observer. "He's a great person, a great family man."

    As for outside free agents, the Rams' options appear limited. Because 2010 is an uncapped year, more than 200 players scheduled for unrestricted free agency are now restricted free agents.

    Most of the available unrestricted free agents are aging veterans. The few players available in the prime of their careers will have plenty of options other than a Rams team that has lost 42 of its last 48 games.

    The Rams did have some interest in San Diego running back Darren Sproles, but in a surprise change of direction the Chargers tendered Sproles at the highest level Thursday as a restricted free agent. Originally, they planned not to tender him at all. The high tender means the Chargers would get first- and third-round draft picks as compensation if they chose not to match an outside offer.


  2. #2
    Goldenfleece's Avatar
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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    This is very odd. Gibson outplayed Carriker in camp last year, and we're fine with letting him walk. We appear to be letting both of our pass-catching tight ends (McMichael and Fells) leave with no strings, along with our de facto starting left guard Mark Setterstrom. With Little and Hall free to leave, we may not have a starter opposite Long at DE anymore, either. We are still planning on fielding a team next year right?

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    peramoure is offline Registered User
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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    UGHHHHHHHHHH I've been a Rams fan for 20 years and lived in LA, but my god, today has just been the most baffling effing day I can remember. Just pay Atogwe, for christs sake. If you hadn't signed effing AJ Feeley to 3 million a year you would have the additional money to pay the man. He has been the company line guy for years and is one of our best players, period. WHAT.THE.HELL.ARE.WE.DOING?!

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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenfleece View Post
    This is very odd. Gibson outplayed Carriker in camp last year, and we're fine with letting him walk. We appear to be letting both of our pass-catching tight ends (McMichael and Fells) leave with no strings, along with our de facto starting left guard Mark Setterstrom. With Little and Hall free to leave, we may not have a starter opposite Long at DE anymore, either. We are still planning on fielding a team next year right?
    I have to agree with you, some of these moves have me thinking, but the comment about them possibly being interested in Incognito again is just crazy.

  5. #5
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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    u can cross out Dunta off the list atlanta just signed him...

  6. #6
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    Quote Originally Posted by jkramsfan View Post
    I have to agree with you, some of these moves have me thinking, but the comment about them possibly being interested in Incognito again is just crazy.
    I was thinking the same thing. What could have possibly changed that would make the Rams want to even consider bringing back a guy who consistently hurt the team, got into a shouting match on the sideline with Spags, and trashed the organization at the first opportunity. Strange indeed.

  7. #7
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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    Quote Originally Posted by peramoure View Post
    UGHHHHHHHHHH I've been a Rams fan for 20 years and lived in LA, but my god, today has just been the most baffling effing day I can remember. Just pay Atogwe, for christs sake. If you hadn't signed effing AJ Feeley to 3 million a year you would have the additional money to pay the man. He has been the company line guy for years and is one of our best players, period. WHAT.THE.HELL.ARE.WE.DOING?!
    Yeah, I'm still holding out hope that we manage to keep Atogwe. He's a playmaker, stays out of trouble, and is in his prime. You'd think we'd be making more of an effort to sign him long-term if we don't want to keep paying him tag money every year.

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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    naw i thnk oj is out....whats the status on Greg Olson???

  9. #9
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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldenfleece View Post
    This is very odd. Gibson outplayed Carriker in camp last year, and we're fine with letting him walk. We appear to be letting both of our pass-catching tight ends (McMichael and Fells) leave with no strings, along with our de facto starting left guard Mark Setterstrom. With Little and Hall free to leave, we may not have a starter opposite Long at DE anymore, either. We are still planning on fielding a team next year right?
    I wouldnt exactly call McMichael a pass catching tight end because he drops way too many balls. As for the Rams basically doing nothing except signing a scrub qb is driving me crazy. With an uncapped year coming up and as bad as we are we could be signing guy to contracts that are front loaded during the uncapped year, maybe im wrong there but you get my point. Yet we sign only AJ Feely on the first day? Feely would have been there a month from now, no one wants that guy that bad. I heard Jeff George might be making another come back maybe we should jump on that right now. Hershall Walker is in great shape maybe we should get him before it's too late. Man this is irritating we need players in here to help this team out. Why the hell they are doing this to Atogwe is beyond me, the guy has been more than patient with this team. He never complains or anything and we practically diss him buy only offering first refusal to save money??? Boy things are really looking up.
    Just Fix It

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    laram0's Avatar
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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    People we were 3-13, 2-14, 1-15 the last 3 years. Alot of un(fan)popular decisions "HAVE" to be made.

    In Devaney and Spags we trust????

  11. #11
    PeoriaRam's Avatar
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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    People we were 3-13, 2-14, 1-15 the last 3 years. Alot of un(fan)popular decisions "HAVE" to be made.

    In Devaney and Spags we trust????
    Such as paying a 3rd String quarterback $6 million?

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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    Man, the front office is giving me a headeache...

  13. #13
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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    Maybe it's the players they don't want to play for the Rams, heck would you?
    LA RAMMER

    It's Jim not Chris
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HNgqQVHI_8

  14. #14
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    Note the money that this saves the rams right now. Note all of my prior posts on chip not wanting to spend money while the sale is pending.

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


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    Re: Strange Day At Rams Park

    I've lost all faith in the rams.....

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