The St. Louis Rams made a move today that was somewhat of a head-scratcher when they released free-safety O.J. Atogwe. Atogwe was the defensive captain for the Rams in 2010, and was considered possibly the best veteran player on the defense.
The motivation seems obvious enough, as Atogwe was due an $8 million roster bonus if the team wanted to keep him for 2011, and it would not be outrageous to say that Atogwe is not worth that much money. This could all just be a risky attempt by the Rams to bring back Atogwe for a more reasonable amount of money.
Even so, the Rams are not really in a position to be creating more needs this off-season. Last year the team made a great improvement (7-9) over their 2009 campaign (1-15), but even so, there are still a lot of holes on the roster (Wide-receiver, offensive-guard, outside-linebacker, strong-safety, and back-up running-back).
So therefore, despite the fact that Atogwe was due a hefty amount of cash, it may prove unwise to add free-safety to the wish list, especially considering that the Rams pass defense was considered the weak point of the overall defense. The St. Louis pass defense ranked 26th in completion percentage, and 19th in average yards per game.
However, it would not be smart to consider Atogwe as 'out of the picture' for the Rams in 2011. General Manager Billy Devaney, and the rest of the front office, proved that they knew what they were doing when they let Atogwe hit free-agency a year ago, only to bring him back for a lot cheaper than what seemed possible at the time.