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Rams tag Atogwe; what about Bartell?

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As expected the Rams used the franchise tag to keep FS O.J. Atogwe for the season. According to the report, the team was trying to hammer out a long term deal, thus taking the decision down to the wire. They'll continue to work on a deal, which would also be a good move. Atogwe can be a cornerstone of the defense for years to come, and if he improves his coverage work a little bit, he'll be truly among the elite defenders in the league. The moves pays Atogwe $6.34 million this season, all of which counts against the Rams cap. Now what about CB Ron Bartell?

The Rams executive VP Kevin Demoff is scheduled to meet with Bartell's agent at the Combine today to talk contract. Signing Bartell is a priority for the team. Why no franchise tag or transition tag? The team only gets one franchise tag, and, though it may have been expensive, finding another CB would have probably been easier than another young FS of Atogwe's caliber. Bartell has made great strides, turning into an unsung defender last season, but tagging him would have cost the team upwards of $9 million dollars. As of now, they only have about $14 million in cap space to work with.

Hopefully, they can get a deal done to make Bartell part of the plans for the next few seasons, giving the backfield some stability.