Is Oshiomogho Atogwe Headed to the San Francisco 49ers?

John PhenAnalyst IIIMay 25, 2010

ST. LOUIS - NOVEMBER 22: Oshiomogho Atogwe #21 of the St. Louis Rams carries the ball against the Arizona Cardinals at the Edward Jones Dome on November 22, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Rams 21-13. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Speculation and rumors continue to run rampant as the June 1st signing deadline approaches and Oshiomogho Atogwe continues to work out in the Bay Area. Atogwe and the Rams seem to be on opposite sides of the highway, crossing each other either on or before the drop dead date of June 1st.

Atogwe is arguably the best defensive player on a bad team that seemingly does not want him.

He is coming off of shoulder surgery but was a productive player when healthy. He turned down a one-year tender of $1.2 million for the upcoming season, and both he and the Rams seem to be far apart from one another.

The Rams can either franchise the safety for 110 percent of his salary, which is $6.976 million, work out a long-term deal for him, or trade him to get something in return.

Franchising Atogwe does not seem likely considering the Rams franchised him last year at $6.3 million. The case does not seem strong for the Rams to retain him considering the ownership issues as well as the rebuilding movement around Bradford.

Further compounding the issue is Antrel Rolle's monster five-year, $37 million contract with the Giants that included a reported $15 million in guarantees.

If June 1st passes without both side coming to terms, Atogwe becomes an unrestricted free agent and is almost assured of generating some serious interest. The 29-year-old safety has ball-hawking ability, netting 19 interceptions in five seasons and averaging about 70 tackles a year.

ESPN reported that Ken Landphere, Atogwe's agent, hinted at a trade to another team being completely possible for his client.

One such team that continues to surface in the rumor mill is the San Francisco 49ers, as Atogwe is rehabilitating in the Bay Area and is dating the daughter of 49ers coach Mike Singletary.

Dashon Goldson performed admirably in the 49ers free safety position last year and rang up four interceptions along with three forced fumbles and 77 tackles. And although Atogwe's numbers (two interceptions, 58 tackles and one fumble recovery) do not seem to stack up, he really only played in 11 and a half games on a poor defensive team that was constantly on the field.

Singletary replied when asked if he or Atogwe had spoken on the subject of becoming a 49er:

“I would just say this, by being around him as much as I have been, we’ve had some conversations but nothing to the point of, ‘We’d really like to have you here.’ We don’t really get into that.”

His presence would certainly bolster a unit from a turnover standpoint. A unit that accounted for just 16 interceptions and 28 turnovers total a year ago could use a playmaker with his abilities.

As is the case with all free agents that fall into this type of category, there are caveats to wanting him on your team. First off it's quite clear that his demands for a long-term contract seems to be in line or at least on par with Antrel Rolle's contract, which seems inflated to begin with.

Given the 49ers defense is a good unit already, and happens to have a bit of a logjam at the safety position, Atogwe and the Niners does not seem to be a perfect match.

What also may raise some caution flags was an alleged Chris Mortensen report that stated Atogwe had a sports hernia and that was the reason behind the Rams not wanting to extend OJ.

The next key deadline in the Atogwe situation is fast approaching, by that time we will know more of Atogwe's future, whether it be with the Rams or elsewhere.

And by all accounts a trade to the 49ers does not seem out of the question, although it may not seem like a good fit.