Happy OJ Atogwe Day

>> 6.01.2010

Yesterday was Memorial Day, a day where Americans everywhere remember, honor, and celebrate the sacrifices of those who give their lives to protect us.  We gave up work and school to visit cemeteries, watch parades, play badminton, and eat sausage, all while remembering those who gave their lives so we’d be free.

For a small fraction of America, though, today is O.J. Atogwe day—the day we skimp on work and school to cross fingers, light candles, murmur incantations, and refresh football websites, seeing what’s going on with St. Louis Rams safety O.J. Atogwe.

According to Brian Stull of toastedrav.com, the Rams continue to negotiate with Atogwe, and will up to and beyond midnight tonight.  For those not already pounding F5 on Pro Football Talk, Atogwe is a restricted free agent, due a one-year tender offer worth 110% of last year’s salary.  However, since the Rams made Atogwe their franchise player last season, he raked in an average of the top five safeties’ salaries for 2009.  110% of his 2009 salary is nearly seven million dollars.

Even if Atogwe were worth that kind of money for 2010—and, coming off shoulder surgery, that’s questionable—the Rams are in rebuilding mode.  Paying Atogwe that kind of money, just to be right back in this same situation next year, doesn’t make sense.  The Rams would love to him lock up to a long-term deal, but it doesn’t sound like that’s close.  If it doesn’t get done by midnight, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.

Note the following line from Stull’s article:

Dallas, Miami, and Jacksonville are all reportedly interested in Atogwe, but none signed him to an offer sheet prior to the April 15th deadline.

Note the significant absence of the word “Detroit” in there.  As I’ve said before, the “vibe” I get is that the Lions broke the bank on Vanden Bosch and Burleson—and were willing to do so because the coaching staff knew them so well.  Despite being just into his prime (he’ll be playing his sixth season, at age 29), and a perfect fit for the skill set the Lions need, I will be stunned if Jim Schwartz is on Atogwe’s doorstep with a Fathead and a bottle of vino at midnight.

Further, if Dallas and Miami are involved, the Lions are going to have serious competition: two teams with deep pockets and winning rosters, looking for that last piece, in an uncapped year.  It’s true that Atogwe is from Windsor, and grew up rooting for the Lions, but business is business, and this is Atogwe’s job, not hobby.

This will likely be Atogwe’s first, and last, giant long-term deal.  If he signs a five-year contract, he’ll be 34 at the end of it, and playing a position where speed is crucial.  Further, he’ll probably be making ridiculous, back-loaded money.  If he even sees the end of that deal, he won’t be a hot commodity for 2015.  He may, or may not, play elsewhere for a year or two after that—but in terms of big money, this is it.

For all these reasons, I don’t see the Lions as major players for his services . . . but I’m crossing my fingers anyway.

Technorati Tags: nfl,detroit lions,st. louis rams,o.j. atogwe,nfl free agency


Matt,  June 1, 2010 at 11:18 PM  

I don't know how credible the source is but Ryan Steck over at bleacherreport quoted a source as "very" interested in Atogwe.

Will Atogwe be interested in the lions? I guess only he knows at this point.

How much better does our defense perform as a whole with two safeties who are good in coverage, can create turnovers, and cut down on the long passes that hurt us so much last year?

Mike,  June 2, 2010 at 8:41 AM  

Well it worked for rob simms so let's see.
please sign oj atogwe please.

tedskro,  June 2, 2010 at 2:27 PM  

great article thats all i have to say very good thoughts

Anonymous,  June 2, 2010 at 9:11 PM  

There is also the Fact that the LIONS have to deal with our two first round picks. And the Fact that Suh is sounding as if he should get paid what Stafford got paid? This GUY's head is going to explode!(Suh) YOU would think that this guy would know that he isn't everything? We aslo need to pay a great ( possibly great)RB also.And come up with money for a 4th rd OT (FOX) that I believe will be worth much more before HE is done also.
And MR. FORD has been keeping up with it all so far. How much does this Man have to pay to get a winning TEAM? And even then the rest of the League is saying maybe 5 wins? For the Money that ford has been putting out he should have a guaranteed SuperBowl.
And I hope that these players know that part of these deals have the unwritten clause that they have to pay off the REFS Just so that we get a fair game Called for each and every game.
Because, Really after everything that this TEAM has changed that is the only holdup that is left? Getting the REFS to play an honest game?
The LIONS have gone out and gotten everything else.
OH, yea,we still need Atogwe? Well we might as well go and get him too. Why not what the...
Well NOW do you guy's think that this is it? What else will this TEAM have to do to become a winner?
OH, and as Fans we might have to go and pay Suh $45 to $55 per autograph.
Do you think that if his line is empty that he will still play up to his potential?

Jason,  June 2, 2010 at 10:50 PM  

Anonymous... your an ignorant whining add. And I'm certain you are the same guy who posted an eeringly similar rant on a Detroit article on national football post. As much as people drink the kool-aid, your smoking some hater grass! It's June... and everything is speculation... so keep your Oh So Certain pissin n moaning for Sept!


TuffLynx,  June 3, 2010 at 5:58 AM  

Atogwe would be nice. But I doubt the Lions can afford what he wants. I put the odds on the Lions getting him to sign at about 1 in 10. In other words, it is a longshot.

I think the Lions are destined to see who plays the best among Daniel Bullocks, Marquand Manuel, Ko Simpson, Marvin White, and CC Brown. Since the Lions did not draft a safety all of these guys are likely to be on the roster for the opening of training camp. If one player emerges from that group they will start next to Delmas. My money would be on Simpson or Bullocks. I am not a big fan of Marquand Manuel and I feel he is mainly a depth player, not a starter. But anything can happen when a position is up for grabs like that.

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