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Sanders visiting Jacksonville, safety market heats up

As we've said before, all is not lost for the St. Louis Rams at the safety position. Not wanting to pay O. J. Atogwe a total of $11 million+ in 2011 makes sense for the team. Finding a replacement at a substantially lower cost is a distinct possibility. Though I'd have way more faith in that if there was some certainty that the NFL free agency period was actually going to happen. 

Since his release last week, we've mentioned former Colts S Bob Sanders. There are even "reports" that the Rams are interested in Sanders. Today, Sanders has his first official visit of the current "soft" free agency period (i.e. the window for teams to release players and to sign released players) with a trip to Jacksonville. It's probably just the first of Sanders' visits with potential suitors, as is Atogwe's trip to Washington. Players like that would could be of real value to teams as starters will use this window of time to shop around for the best offer. 

So when can we expect something to happen? Given the uncertainty around free agency and football in general, it stands to reason that teams would want to land players like Atogwe or Sanders before the looming March 4 deadline. Doing so gives them a chance to lockdown a solid player in a year where there might not even be free agency. Of course, the players could opt to take their time, waiting for the right offer. 

If the Rams really wanted to re-sign Atogwe, the best offer might be a long-term offer. One-year offers will probably be more of the rule during this free agency purgatory period, e.g. the Lions with Erik Coleman