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  • Give the Rams Some Credit ..

    By Jason La Canfora | NFL.com
    Give the Rams some credit. They might not end up retaining safety O.J. Atogwe long-term, but they were shrewd and calculated in their approach to his unique free-agent status, and just might be rewarded for it.

    Coming off a year in which he was a franchise player, the Rams faced the prospect of paying him $7 million for one season on a high restricted free-agent tender. The option of "renting" him again at that price, on a team coming off a one-win season, was clearly not preferable to them. Ultimately, they were unable to agree to an extension before June 1, so he now is allowed to test the waters in free agency.

    But make no mistake, the Rams have benefitted by going through this process now, rather than back in March when free agency began in earnest. In the past few months we have seen many teams essentially spend their budgets already, and many teams have already addressed their safety needs in free agency or in the draft.

    That alone has eliminated several prime competitors for Atogwe's services. Well played. Furthermore, the Rams are aware that many teams are hesitant to spend big on the safety position in general. They figured ultimately the market for Atogwe, even if unrestricted, might not be that great. They also knew that a lot of teams signing free agents from other clubs have had it backfire over the years, which might also make others wary.

    In the end, free-spending Miami might end up providing the only real competition. The Rams have done well to maintain a strong relationship with the player throughout the negotiating process. They realized the unique hand they were dealt in this uncapped season and, if in the end someone still offers a deal they did not believe the market would bear, then so be it.

    But it just might be their offers were the best all along, and still will be. I would not be surprised if that's the case. Give executives Billy Devaney and Kevin Demoff credit for their strategy and acumen navigating the process.

    Hmm .. Interesting .. So much for the Rams "insulting" O.J. with a pitiful low-ball offer.

  • #2
    Re: Give the Rams Some Credit ..

    It's an intelligent move by the Rams, something we haven't seen in quite some time with the Front Office. I love how people are so quick to throw us under the bus--but now all of a sudden, given the discovery of Billy D's strategy, Spags & Co. are respected. Shocking.

    You know what's also shocking? The fact that this team will surprise this year, I can feel it. I'm not saying we're going to the Super Bowl but I think we've made strides this year and at the least built a solid foundation. I think we'll start seeing progress with each week during the regular season. Great job Billy D with the Atogwe situation. Let's hope he'll come to his senses and realize the Rams' offer was always his best option.
    Always and Forever a fan of the St. Louis Rams

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Give the Rams Some Credit ..

      Obviously this author has not read any of the astute, well spoken, analysis of some of our posters. Please allow me to sum it up for him...


      THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Give the Rams Some Credit ..

        Originally posted by Rambunctious View Post
        Obviously this author has not read any of the astute, well spoken, analysis of some of our posters. Please allow me to sum it up for him...


        THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING
        Very, very funny. Rep to you.;)
        (P.S. You need to add exclamation points)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Give the Rams Some Credit ..

          Originally posted by Varg6 View Post
          It's an intelligent move by the Rams, something we haven't seen in quite some time with the Front Office. I love how people are so quick to throw us under the bus--but now all of a sudden, given the discovery of Billy D's strategy, Spags & Co. are respected. Shocking.

          You know what's also shocking? The fact that this team will surprise this year, I can feel it. I'm not saying we're going to the Super Bowl but I think we've made strides this year and at the least built a solid foundation. I think we'll start seeing progress with each week during the regular season. Great job Billy D with the Atogwe situation. Let's hope he'll come to his senses and realize the Rams' offer was always his best option.
          Varg6,

          I agree with you. I think we will surprise some folks out there this year. I believe we've done a credible job with signing free agents or making trades and the cornerstone of our off-season was a well though-out draft. I would have hoped for a few different players here or there, but these guys seem to know what they're doing. I want to see us sign our picks now and have everyone in camp on-time and get good fortune with absence of injuries. If these things fall into place, we will surprise some teams out there starting with the Cardinals in week 1. As for Otogwe, unless someone like the Dolphins wants to overpay for him go, right ahead. We'll stick to our plan and get it dome another way. Frankly, I think he'll be back with us at a fair price.

          Go Rams!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Give the Rams Some Credit ..

            Originally posted by Rambunctious View Post
            Obviously this author has not read any of the astute, well spoken, analysis of some of our posters. Please allow me to sum it up for him...


            THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING
            even I am not saying that
            Semper Fi!

            Comment

            Related Topics

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            • MauiRam
              Nice perspective on Atogwe's resigning ..
              by MauiRam
              Atogwe's odyssey has happy ending, back where he started
              By Jason La Canfora | NFL Network

              During a time of relatively unprecedented uncertainty regarding the future of the collective bargaining agreement, and in a year unlike any other in the free-agency era, few players have experienced these unique circumstances like O.J. Atogwe.

              A year ago, the Rams safety was a franchise player. Then, as a result of the quirks in the system this year, he found himself a restricted free agent, placed with a low tender initially in March. The Rams opted not to raise that tender, retained his rights through the spring, and then, unable to reach a long-term settlement, Atogwe became an unrestricted free agent on June 1. While many of his peers have lamented their plight, refusing to attend workouts and minicamps and sounding off on management, Atogwe ended up signing a five-year extension back with St. Louis.

              How about that? A bona fide, feel-good, happy-ending NFL contract story? In this, the summer of our labor discontent? I love it.

              Atogwe's situation was the first of its kind in league history, and had numerous twists and turns, what with the various tender deadlines and the delayed unrestricted free agency, but the sides emerged, smiling, with a five-year, $32 million extension. Amid all the bombast, it's great to know deals can still get done and fair-mindedness is still rewarded.

              "It speaks to the kind of person O.J. is," said Kevin Demoff, the Rams executive vice president of football operations and a primary negotiator for the club, "and the importance he placed on being one of the key veteran leaders in helping the Rams change direction. It also speaks to the partnership between O.J. and (general manager) Billy (Devaney) and (coach) Steve (Spagnuolo), through all of this uncertainty to be able to keep a strong relationship and keep an open dialogue, and we never got to the point where either side was frustrated or displeased publicly, and I'm impressed with the way all of those people handled it, which allowed ultimately the right deal to come together.

              "The spirit of cooperation between Steve and Billy and O.J. is really what drove this deal. And I hope people realize how unique of a person O.J. is to handle the off-the-field contract issues so well over the past two years. And we appreciate his vision for moving this club forward and being a key part of that."

              Atogwe is a thoughtful player, mature beyond his 29 years, who valued staying with the only franchise he's ever played for. Despite the lean years -- and it's been very lean in St. Louis -- he followed his instincts, and his heart.

              "This is where I'm supposed to be," Atogwe said during a conference call Wednesday. "This is where my work is still to be done. St. Louis has been my home these last five years and my time here was not...
              -06-30-2010, 12:03 PM
            • r8rh8rmike
              Strange Day At Rams Park
              by r8rh8rmike
              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...
              -03-05-2010, 02:27 PM
            • ontarioramfan
              Miami Herald Article on Atogwe
              by ontarioramfan
              Heres an article echoing what i've been saying regarding atogwe and why teams havent put an offer sheet for him

              Do you like Safety O.J. Atogwe? Get in line. And wait until June 1.

              A month after the start of free agency, the Dolphins and several other NFL teams have yet to address a glaring need at free safety. Oh, sure, Miami tried. But Ryan Clark re-signed with Pittsburgh, leaving this team with the same question as the rest.

              Why not O.J. Atogwe?

              Atogwe, as you already know, is a restricted free agent tendered by the Rams at the lowest possible level. He's a solid player, and he wouldn't even require any draft-pick compensation like other expensive RFAs, such as Indianapiolis’ Antoine Bethea.

              Yet for whatever reason, teams like Miami are avoiding him as if he’s got a case of the Swine Flu and a Staph Infection all at the same time. That reason, as apparently needs to be reminded to many Dolphins fans still clamoring for Atogwe, is a bit complicated.

              The short version can be summed up with a one-sentence quote from one of my league sources: “Many teams know that his (Right of First Refusal) is likely to go away on June 1, so some teams have said they don’t want to do a deal that Rams would match.”
              Basically, Atogwe has the potential to become an unrestricted free agent on June 1.

              Now, for the more in-depth explanation: The Rams are currently trying to reach a long-term deal with Atogwe. Those negotiations aren’t likely to intensify until sometime between April 15 (the deadline for teams to submit offer sheets on restricted free agents) and May 31 (the last day for teams with RFAs to offer acceptable tenders).

              But there’s a catch. If the Rams can’t reach a long-term deal, and they want to keep Atogwe, they’ll have to give him an acceptable tender that pays him 110 percent of his 2009 salary with all of the same conditions as the previous contract.

              Since he had a $6.3 million guaranteed salary last season, that means the Rams would once again need to guarantee him $6.93 million – an excessive cost that can be avoided by a long-term deal.

              So when April 15 hits, the pressure will be on the Rams to reach a new deal within 45 days or else Atogwe will become an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any other NFL team, including the Dolphins.

              For that reason, no teams are interested in providing Atogwe with an offer sheet, since that would allow the Rams to simply end their need to negotiate with Atogwe because they could simply impose their right of first refusal and match that offer.
              Instead, teams can force the Rams’ hand by making them pony up an acceptable long-term deal or suffer the potential consequences.

              From my perspective, I would imagine Atogwe would be very reluctant to finish a deal with the Rams, especially since he maintains a considerable amount...
              -03-30-2010, 05:56 AM
            • RamWraith
              Atogwe awaits free agency
              by RamWraith
              By Jim Parker
              Canwest News Service
              Wednesday, February 13, 2008

              WINDSOR, Ont. - Oshiomogho Atogwe easily roamed through the street crowds at this year's Super Bowl in Phoenix, Ariz., virtually unnoticed.

              "I'm a low key person," the 26-year-old from Windsor, Ont., said. "I'm still behind a helmet, so people don't know me."
              But his time in anonymity might be quickly coming to an end as the St. Louis Rams free safety becomes a restricted free agent at the end of this month.

              After a season where he led the NFC with eight interceptions, the five-foot-11, 210-pound Atogwe could be set for a big payoff.

              "Free agency doesn't worry me because I know I'll be playing football somewhere next year," Atogwe said. "It's been a blessing to play as long as I've played. I can't ask for anymore.

              "I've had coaches and teammates who have helped me to grow as a person and in this league, (success) has to be fast or it doesn't come at all."

              Atogwe's free agent choices could be limited. With only three seasons in the NFL, he's a restricted free agent, which means the Rams can match any offer he receives.

              "Free agency will take care of itself," he said. "There's not too much I can do. It's up to the team and the (interested) teams to decide."

              The Rams have until Feb. 28 to set a compensation price for Atogwe signing elsewhere. It's expected St. Louis will make the compensation for Atogwe a first-round pick. That will guarantee him at least $1.85 million US next season, which would be a huge jump from 2007.

              Although the Rams had the sixth-highest payroll in the NFL last season, Atogwe was 51st on the team's payscale earning $354,840. That despite having a career-high 75 tackles, eight picks, which was second in the NFL, and 12 knockdowns. Two of those picks were against Green Bay legend Brett Favre. He returned another 52 yards for a touchdown against Arizona for a touchdown that reminded him of his high school days.

              "I got some good blocks and then turned the corner," Atogwe said.
              The Rams, who selected Atogwe in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft out of Stanford, have already approached Atogwe about a new deal.

              "We've been in talks, but it's nothing too serious," Atogwe said of the Rams.
              A big decision for him is whether to sign a one-year deal, which will make him an unrestricted free agent in 2009, or the security of a long-term deal.

              "I'm still deciding on that," he said. "I love playing for the St. Louis Rams. It's a great organization and the fans are great, so there's some interest in a long-term deal. I'm more patient though and I know everything happens in time."

              For now, he can look back on a breakout season that has made him a household...
              -02-14-2008, 07:29 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, 01:29 AM
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