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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
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        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.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

          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.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

            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.

            Comment


            • #7
              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)

              Comment


              • #8
                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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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 ..

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Atogwe Will Skip Offseason Programs

                      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.

                      Comment

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                      • MauiRam
                        Atogwe will remain with Rams
                        by MauiRam
                        Atogwe will remain with Rams
                        By Jim Thomas
                        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                        04/19/2008

                        NOVEMBER 11, 2007--Oshiomogho Atogwe #21 of the St. Louis Rams is tackled after making an interception by David Patten #81 of the New Orleans Saints.
                        (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

                        Apparently, the first-round tender offer placed on Rams safety Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe by the team was steep enough to scare off any potential suitors.

                        Friday was the deadline for restricted free agents to receive contract offers from other NFL teams. And by late Friday afternoon, the Rams had received no such offer sheet on Atogwe. The exact deadline was 11 p.m. Friday, but league sources told the Post-Dispatch earlier in the day that none would be forthcoming.

                        Had Atogwe gotten a contract offer, the Rams would have had the option to match the contract. Had they decided not to match, they would have received a first-round draft pick as compensation from the team that signed Atogwe.

                        Atogwe is expected to sign his one-year tender offer of $2.017 million with the Rams in the near future. Even while in limbo, he has been a regular at the team's offseason conditioning program this spring. Eventually, the Rams want to sign Atogowe to a long-term contract, but they have had only preliminary talks with Atogwe's agent on a new deal.

                        Atogwe, 26, led the NFC and was second in the NFL with eight interceptions last season. The third-round draft pick out of Stanford in 2005 finished third on the team in tackles (94) last season and also forced two fumbles
                        -04-19-2008, 03:45 AM
                      • r8rh8rmike
                        Atogwe Hopes To Be Back After Release From Rams
                        by r8rh8rmike
                        Atogwe hopes to be back after release from Rams

                        BY JIM THOMAS
                        Saturday, February 19, 2011

                        Even with his release Friday by the Rams, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe says he hasn't closed the door on a possible return to the team.

                        "My agent and myself have established a really good negotiating relationship with them, so were we to do something again (with the Rams), I don't believe it'd be a difficult task," Atogwe told the Post-Dispatch. "Because there's no bad blood there. We should be able to get something done."

                        The only problem — for several years — has been agreeing on Atogwe's value in terms of a multi-year deal. Rather than pay an $8 million roster bonus that was due Atogwe on Monday, the Rams released the six-year veteran.

                        "It's disappointing to be back in this situation, again," Atogwe said. "Not being able to actually be set at this point in time in my career — it's disappointing."

                        The relative security of a long-term contract has proven frustratingly elusive for Atogwe, a third-round round pick out of Stanford in 2005.

                        "I'd say it's frustrating along the lines that I haven't been able to feel at home since my rookie contract," Atogwe said. "Where you say, OK this team wants me for the long haul, for the long term."

                        Atogwe was franchised following the 2008 season, then in a wrinkle of the uncapped year, reverted back to restricted free agency following the 2009 season. As for this offseason, there's no doubt that the current labor impasse between players and owners, and pending lockout, have caused teams to be more conservative financially.

                        "Yeah, it has been difficult," Atogwe said. "I think that's why it's very important for us to really get a CBA done, in place and secure, so that other guys won't have to go through a similar situation as myself. And that the teams can really move on in paying their bills and grow for the long term. But for me it's definitely frustrating. I'm thankful that I still have peace throughout this, knowing that it's going to work out the way it's supposed to."

                        Because he is a released player, Atogwe is free to sign with any team immediately. However, if there is no collective bargaining agreement by March 4, no veteran players — even released players such as Atogwe — can sign new contracts at that time.

                        So Atogwe has a 13-day window to shop the market, but he plans to wait until there's a new labor agreement before doing so.

                        "I would say I'm just going to take this time to let God speak to me and go from there," Atogwe said. "I am going to wait till the market opens and then go from there."

                        Besides the $8 million roster bonus, Atogwe was due a $3.5 million base salary with the Rams in 2011, meaning he would have been...
                        -02-19-2011, 02:58 PM
                      • TekeRam
                        Rams say adios to Atogwe
                        by TekeRam
                        Posted by Mike Florio on June 2, 2010 6:48 AM ET via ProFootballTalk.com

                        When the clock struck 12 in St. Louis (technically, 11:00 p.m. local time), Rams safety O.J. Atogwe became a restricted free agent with no restrictions.

                        Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reports the change in Atogwe's status, which occurred due to a provision of the labor deal requiring teams to re-issue RFA tenders on June 1, and which would have required the Rams to offer Atogwe nearly $7 million in order to keep him.

                        The move comes as no surprise. When the Rams opted to tender Atogwe at the lowest possible level -- the only level that did not allow the $1.226 million offer to be trumped by 110 percent of his 2009 franchise-player salary -- it became obvious that the Rams wouldn't be re-issuing the tender three months later, when the rules require the team to offer at least 110 percent of the prior year's salary, regardless of the level that previously was tendered.

                        Per Balzer, the Rams tried throughout the day to work out a new deal with Atogwe. It's possible that Atogwe simply wanted to hit the open market. It's more likely that his agent had gauged the market in March and/or April, and that Atogwe knows what other teams are willing to pay.

                        Unless Atogwe wants much more than any team will offer, he shouldn't be on the market for long. Indeed, by now his agent should know exactly who's interested, and exactly what they'll pay.

                        Balzer points out that potentially interested teams include the Cowboys, *****, Vikings, and Dolphins. The Eagles reportedly will not be pursuing Atogwe.

                        Of course, it's also possible that Atogwe will find that no one else is willing to pay him as much as the Rams would pay, and that he'll decide to stay put.

                        Another issue that Atogwe will face is his ability to pass a physical. He finished the 2009 season with a potentially serious shoulder injury.

                        Because Atogwe did not become an unrestricted free agent as currently defined by the CBA (i.e., a player with six or more years of service whose contract expired), the "Final Eight Plan" does not apply, allowing the Cowboys and the Vikings (and the Jets and the Saints) to pursue him without limitations.
                        -06-02-2010, 05:24 AM
                      • MauiRam
                        Balzar today on Atogwe ..
                        by MauiRam
                        Rams must make decision on Atogwe's status on Tuesday
                        Team has to sign him, make a new tender offer or let him become a free agent

                        By Howard Balzer
                        Tuesday, June 1, 2010

                        The day everyone expected has arrived. Tuesday is the day the Rams have to make a decision on restricted free-agent free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe.

                        At the beginning of the league year in early March, the Rams elected to tender Atogwe at the lowest level of $1.226 million, rather than give him a 110 percent increase over his 2009 salary of $6.342 million. The lower tender meant the Rams retained right of first refusal, but there would have been no draft-choice compensation had Atogwe received an offer from another team prior to the April 15 deadline.

                        Once that date passed without an offer, June 1 became the next important day on the calendar. The Rams have insisted they want to sign Atogwe to a long-term contract and negotiations have occurred since before he was made the franchise player in 2009. The Rams remained in contact with Atogwe’s agent, Ken Landphere, during the holiday weekend.

                        However, it has been clear the two sides are in disagreement over the value of a good, but not great, safety, and one who is coming off shoulder surgery and will turn 29 on June 23.

                        If there is no agreement on a new deal Tuesday, the Rams have until 11 p.m. St. Louis time to increase his one-year tender to $6.976 million, a salary that would be guaranteed as soon as Atogwe signs it. If the Rams decide not to tender him at that level, he will become an unrestricted free agent.

                        Several teams have been rumored as having interest in Atogwe, including Miami, Detroit, Dallas and San Francisco. It remains to be seen what value other teams place on Atogwe, but the Rams are hoping that value will be in line with theirs and that Atogwe will give them the opportunity to match the best offer he gets.

                        The Rams’ in-limbo ownership situation does not appear to be a factor in the efforts to re-sign Atogwe because a contract for him was part of the overall budget set heading into the new league year. Of course, the value of that contract is in line with what the team believes he is worth.
                        OTAs continue

                        The Rams enter their third week of OTAs this week, with practices scheduled for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The Wednesday and Friday sessions will be open to the media.
                        -06-01-2010, 12:50 PM
                      • RealRam
                        Atogwe Puts Himself Into a No-pouting Zone
                        by RealRam
                        Atogwe Puts Himself Into a No-pouting Zone :helmet:

                        By Jim Thomas
                        ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
                        09/07/2009

                        After missing the entire offseason, training camp and preseason, Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson finally reported to Houston on Sunday.

                        In Carolina, defensive end Julius Peppers skipped all of the Panthers' offseason program and at one point asked to be traded before signing his one-year tender in late June.

                        In Baltimore, Terrell Suggs skipped camp in '08 and might have done the same this year before signing a six-year, $63 million contract in July that made him the highest-paid linebacker in the league.

                        And not that long ago in St. Louis, offensive tackle Orlando Pace went "0-for-Macomb" twice, skipping back-to-back training camps in protest of his franchise-player designation.

                        As those examples indicate, it's not unusual for players slapped with the franchise tag to take it personally.

                        What's unusual is the way Rams safety Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe handled his franchise-player designation this offseason. He showed up to work. Every day.

                        "It is rare to have no real disagreements over offseason participation, and to have a player be so committed to being around without the contract being in the forefront," said Kevin Demoff, the Rams' executive vice president of football operations. "I was shocked throughout the process of how responsive O.J. was to Coach (Steve Spagnuolo) and to putting the team first and being here every day."

                        Atogwe has started 48 consecutive games for the Rams since breaking into the lineup in 2006 as a second-year player. For the past two offseasons, he has unsuccessfully sought a long-term deal — first as a restricted free agent following the 2007 season and then as the team's franchise player following '08.

                        If he's upset about his contract status, it's not showing.

                        "I believe, as I've been taught, that having a reputation of good character is worth more than wealth and riches and chasing after the money," Atogwe said earlier in camp. "I feel like if I was going to be a part of the team this year, it was important — or imperative — that I was here in the offseason. Just to show my teammates that I'm committed to them, committed to what we have going on, regardless of my contract situation."

                        So Atogwe was here for the team's offseason conditioning program ... the minicamps ... organized team activities ... training camp and the preseason. He considered it especially important to be around with a new coaching staff in place.

                        "Being a guy that's been here with the Rams, now going on five years, some of the younger guys and even some of the vets need to see loyalty and faithfulness from the guys that have already been here," Atogwe said. "That's...
                        -09-07-2009, 02:29 AM
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