In case you forgot, today is the last day restricted free agents can entertain offers from other teams and last day for them to sign their offer sheets if they want to play next season. The St. Louis Rams have three important players, FS OJ Atogwe, OT Alex Barron and DT Clifton Ryan, who have yet to sign their RFA tenders, each with different circumstances surrounding their future with the team. Let's take a look.
The biggest and most talked about name on the list is FS Oshiomogho Atogwe. Togs' is also the strangest case out of all three RFAs. The ball-hawking free safety still has the rest of the day to receive an offer sheet from another team. He hasn't received an offer since the Rams applied the lowest RFA tender - first right of refusal and $1.226 million salary - and it is unlikely that an offer sheet will float across his agent's desk today.
Though he could decline to sign, it's very unlikely. Why would he? If he signs, he and the Rams can still try to work out a long term deal or he can demand to be traded. Besides, if he didn't sign his offer sheet, he'd miss out on the chance to make close to $7 million next season or become an unrestricted free agent when another deadline arrives on June 15. On that day, the Rams have a choice: issue a new tender worth $6.976 million (110 percent of his salary last year, when he was playing under the franchise tag) or decline to sign him and make him a free agent.
What will the Rams do? This situation has been a tough read from the start, though I still think it stems mostly from the team not wanting to pay him almost $7 million, especially since he's coming off an injury last season. Atogwe is a good, but he's not a game changer...and only game changing safeties make $7 million a season. The draft is next week and teams looking for a safety and missing out might be willing to make the Rams an offer. I suspect the Rams would be doubtlessly listening to any offers that come their way. If a trade doesn't materialize, pay attention to who the Rams draft. If they pick a safety like Utah's Robert Johnson, it almost certainly means they'll part ways with Atogwe rather than pay him that rich of a contract.
The Rams tendered OT Alex Barron at the second round level, signaling that they were open to trade offers. Similar to the situation with Atogwe, I suspect they'll make one more run at trading him during the draft. If Barron does come back next season, he'll be playing for unrestricted free agency in 2011...depending on what happens with the CBA. That's fine for the Rams; Barron gives them a low cost, adequate starter, though I doubt they'd keep him beyond this year. Whether or not Barron plays for the Rams this year or not, the Rams ought to look carefully for a RT in the draft. They need a better backup option at OT and a solution for that position down the road.
DT Clifton Ryan was tendered at the second round level, which should gives the former 5th round pick a nice pay raise for the year, if he signs the offer sheet. Of course, he'd be foolish not to sign the RFA tender.