The Sudden, Strange Interest in O.J. Atogwe

David LeonCorrespondent IJune 2, 2010

ST. LOUIS - NOVEMBER 22: Oshiomogho Atogwe #21 of the St. Louis Rams recovers a fumble 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

There is a lot of interest in former Rams safety Oshiogho (O.J.) Atogwe, Yahoo! Sports reports.

This begs the question: Why?  More precisely: Why now?

According to Mark J. Miller, the Cowboys, Dolphins, and Vikings are all showing interest. Strange, where the hell were you a month or two ago?

The sudden interest is hard to understand.  Atogwe's current free agency status is little more than a technicality.  The Rams tendered him at the lowest possible level:  Right of first refusal.  This means any interested party could have negotiated a contract with Atogwe (two months ago) without any compensation given to the Rams.

Ah, yes, but the Rams might have matched the offer. In the immortal words of Herm Edwards:  So what?  The Rams can still match your offer.  Further, they can also one-up you a little bit.

Regarding Atogwe's contractual status, very little changed as of last night.  Once again, I am left scratching my head:  Why the interest now?

If I were the head of the NFLPA, I would take note of this fact, and I would have an interest.  If I were a suspicious man, I would suspect that there is a degree of collusion going on between the owners.

We'll call it a gentlemen's agreement.  You don't negotiate with my restricted guys before a certain date and time, I won't negotiate with yours.

Does this harm the player in anyway?

It could have the effect of pressing contract values down.  It could inspire a degree of desperation in the player and his agent.  It might convince them that the player's contract value is somewhat lower than originally thought.  This could convince a player to sign at a lower dollar value.

Don't think so?

Explain to me just what has changed about Atogwe's status vis-a-vis the acquiring team.  Explain to me why they are interested now, when they showed no interest a month ago.

Consider well.

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