St. Louis has 22 days to act with O.J. Atogwe

We are 22 days away from getting a much better idea about the future of veteran safety O.J. Atogwe and the St. Louis Rams.

The team must decide by June 1 if it will offer him a contract of almost $7 million for this season as a restricted free agent or let him depart as an unrestricted free agent. Anything is possible, but if the Rams wanted to do that, chances are they would have placed the franchise tag on him and been done with it. The Rams had tagged Atogwe last season, one of the reasons why his price to St. Louis is so high for 2010.

St. Louis tendered Atogwe at the low level of $1.226 million and Steve Wyche announced on “NFL Total Access” that Atogwe will not sign that offer sheet. Of course he won’t, not when he can be an unrestricted free agent soon.

Atogwe suffered a shoulder injury in December but it’s not expected to hinder him this season. The problem with hitting the UFA market in June is that most clubs have already spent their big cash for the year. Who was going to earmark a large portion of their budget for Atogwe with his availability uncertain?

The Rams could work to sign Atogwe longterm but with uncertainty in their ownership situation, efforts to do that could be clouded. We’ll know in a little more than three weeks what is going to happen with him in St. Louis.

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