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Rams tender S O.J. Atogwe at lowest level; Bears reportedly already interested

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Fooch's Note: We've got an update on this.  The Rams have officially tendered OJ Atogwe at the lowest level (right of first refusal, no draft pick compensation).  Supposedly the Bears are already interested.

Earlier this evening I put up a post about free safety Antrel Rolle looking to get upwards of $8 million per year.  Amazingly, the safety news got even bigger with this article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  Apparently the St. Louis Rams are considering placing the lowest possible tender on safety Oshiomogho (O.J.) Atogwe.

According to the paper, any other tender offer would cost the team a 110% of Atogwe's 2009 salary.  Such a raise would mean Atogwe would be earning $6.976 million in 2010.  With this potential lowest tender offer, Atogwe would "only" get $1.226 million.  Obviously we can get into the semantics of "only" a million-plus dollars, but we won't deal with that debate right now.

By placing such a tender, the Rams would have the right of first refusal on any contract offered to Atogwe, but they would not get any kind of draft pick compensation.  If this turns out to in fact be a legit report, and not just a BS rumor, it's safe to say Atogwe would receive a whole lot of offers.  Rotoworld mentioned that this would create "bad blood" between Atogwe and the Rams.  Initially I agreed with that statement, but upon further review, I wonder how true that is if we take the whole situation into consideration.

Now, if this tender was used and nobody made Atogwe an offer, certainly I'd be pissed if I were him.  But in reality, doesn't this guarantee Atogwe will get some kind of solid multi-year offer?  With no potential draft pick changing hands, is there any real draw-back to another team offering him a decent-sized multi-year contract?  Oh, I don't know, say the San Francisco 49ers?  I'm not sure if Atogwe would want to play for his girlfriend's father, but maybe he does.

So, in the end, does OJ end up somewhere else, or do the Rams match any offer?  This is, of course, also assuming something like this actually goes down.  We'll know more sometime during the coming 24 hours when tenders have to be made, if not already done so.