As RFA window closes, Atogwe's future uncertain

One deadline will come and go for St. Louis Rams safety O.J. Atogwe today.

Another looms a month-and-a-half away.

Where Atogwe will wind up playing in 2010 remains anyone’s best guess right now. The Rams tendered Atogwe at the lowest level possible as a restricted free agent -- $1.226 million – but barring a major surprise the deadline for RFA’s to sign offer sheets will pass today without any significant interest being shown in him.

At the low tender, the Rams have only the right of first refusal on an offer sheet, but no team has stepped up and appeared ready to craft a deal for the playmaker. Now, it becomes a waiting game to see if the club can work out a multi-year agreement with Atogwe before June 1. On that day, for the Rams to keep him on a one-year tender it must be worth $6.97 million, or 110 percent of the amount he played for in 2009. Otherwise, Atogwe becomes an unrestricted free agent and is free to shop with any team.

There is no question Atogwe is a valuable performer. He’s been in on 41 takeaways since 2005, the most in the league and a staggering total when you think about it. He’s got a nose for the ball and he’s certainly not someone the rebuilding Rams want to move forward without, not unless they get top value in return. What that value is remains to be seen. Some teams don’t want to pay safeties big money. That is clearly the case with the Rams, who could have concerns about a shoulder injury Atogwe suffered last season that he is rehabilitating. He has not shown up for the club’s voluntary offseason workout program, but no one can blame him.

Nothing happened for him as an RFA. Thing will come into better focus in the coming weeks though.

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