Rams, Atogwe enter 11th hour

The St. Louis Rams have a little more than an hour remaining to sign veteran safety O.J. Atogwe to a longterm extension or bump up his pay 110 percent from last season which would require them to pay him $6.976 million in 2010.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that it appears the club’s chances of striking a deal for the turnover maker are fading. At this point, one would figure the Rams would have to bowl Atogwe over with an offer to prevent him from at least exploring the market as an unrestricted free agent.

If the Rams didn’t want to pay Atogwe nearly $7 million before free agency opened when they made him a tender as a restricted free agent, why would they want to pay him that amount now? There is always a chance he could shop for a deal in free agency and then give the Rams the right to match it. But that is a real risk the team will take. Once the clock strikes 11:01 in St. Louis, Atogwe will be unrestricted if no deal is consummated. The club hyas been negotiating with his agent Ken Landphere through the day.

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