As if you needed more confusion in your life. As if the CBA and a potential NFL lockout weren't enough excitement for you. The St. Louis Rams released defensive stalwart FS Oshiomogho Atogwe yesterday putting jaws on office floors from Alton to Los Angeles.
The most obvious factor here was that the Rams didn't want to pay Atogwe the $8 million bonus he was due on Monday. Not a surprise there. Everyone knew his contract had that poison pill in it when the Rams and Atogwe agreed to it last year; the deal was always a one-year deal by another name. A looming lockout made the move even more likely. Writing an $8 million check with a lockout a week away doesn't make much sense for a franchise that doesn't make Dallas Cowboys-like money.
Aside from the sentimental blow of losing a favorite player, letting Atogwe go is just the first move. It's what happens next as the Rams look to fill hole they've created in the roster that matters most.
The possibility of re-signing Atogwe still exists. Atogwe himself expressed that possibility in today's Post-Dispatch:
My agent and myself have established a really good negotiating relationship with them, so were we to do something again (with the Rams), I don't believe it'd be a difficult task. Because there's no bad blood there. We should be able to get something done.
Getting a deal done before March 3 does seem unlikely according to the report. Remember, Atogwe is free to sign with another team in that short window before a lockout could go into effect and freeze player movement. The good news for Rams here is that Atogwe signaled his reticence to shop his services prior to that date. Of course, he might get better offers once the CBA gets resolved and (if) free agency starts; more teams will be more likely to deal once they have some economic certainty.