I don't think anyone saw O.J. Atogwe's release coming so soon, however it was probably to be expected. He was due an 8 million dollar roster bonus on Monday, and seeing how the Rams are pretty fiscally responsible (see: tightwads), it didn't seem likely he'd stick around. While the numbers he put up might have dropped in Spagnuolo's defensive scheme, he was still a valuable player not only because of his experience, but because of his leadership (teammates don't vote you captain on a whim).
Some may argue differently, but this release seems all too familiar, given the circumstances. If you need your memory refreshed, consider the story of one Isaac Bruce. Mr. Ram himself was released in 2006 because of a salary issue. He was slated to get paid a cool 8.1 million dollars and the team did not think he was worth the price, so they released him. He was re-signed five days later.
Like Bruce, Atogwe seems like someone who will be able to find many suitors in free agency, even though last year's dabble didn't work out the way he planned it to. Also like Bruce, he could very much stay with the Rams. Respect and camaraderie aren't always easy to attain, and there isn't any guarantee he would fit in another team's system the way he does now with the Rams.
While he isn't a complete safety, like Eric Berry or Ed Reed, he is one of the better safeties in the league. It could turn out that the Rams simply didn't want to pay him an 8 million dollar bonus, but still want him on the team. Ron Bartell and Isaac Bruce both went through this, different levels of course, and still ended up in St. Louis after it was all said and done. The Rams aren't exactly in the cellar anymore, so they may hold some newly founded respectability when players look at their options when they decide on who to play for.
He may still end up playing in Blue and Gold next year.