It's now or...later for Oshiomogho Atogwe. The St. Louis Rams released their starting safety last week, making him a free agent. Atogwe was in Washington yesterday for a visit and has other teams that are reportedly interested. However, if Atogwe doesn't sign with a team by March 3, he'll have to wait until the CBA mess gets sorted out before signing a deal somewhere.
Players released by teams prior to the official beginning of free agency, this year scheduled for March 4, are free to court and be courted by other suitors. Former Falcons S Erik Coleman signed a one-year deal with Detroit not long after his release. If released players do not sign with a team by March 3, they'll have to wait until a new CBA gets signed.
If CBA negotiations drag into the midnight hour, i.e. Labor Day as some have postulated, it could scuttle free agency all together. That would likely result in free agents returning to their former teams at 120 percent of last year's salary. I'm not entirely clear whether or not that would apply to players released before the March 3 deadline (I have a question out to clarify). If it does, that would make the Rams gamble to release him a win...and the second year in a row that Atogwe has been retained by quirk of the CBA.