They could have locked him up just under $7 million — a high, but not unreasonable number — for this season, but they didn't. Now, the Rams reportedly would like to bring Atogwe back, but at a cheaper price.
It's a big roll of the dice for the Rams, because Atogwe will have no shortage of suitors as an unrestricted free agent. The Vikings, Cowboys, Bears, Eagles, 49ers, Packers and Lions all seem like possibilities.
And I don't know what O.J.'s looking for in his next team, but if it's a truckload of cash, clearly the Rams aren't willing to give that to him. If it's a shot at winning a championship, well, we'll generously say that the Rams probably aren't his best bet there, either.
If you're the Rams, I guess you justify it by saying, "Well, he's 29 years old, he's had some injury issues, and at this point in our re-re-re-re-rebuilding phase, it doesn't make sense for us to pay big money to a potentially hobbled veteran."
At the end of the day, though, the fact is that Atogwe's a good football player, the Rams don't have very many good football players, and it should probably be their goal to acquire and keep more good football players. I know it's crazy, but that's my philosophy.
- unrestricted free agent