Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC North [Print without images]

Monday, May 31, 2010
Everybody loves Oshiomogho Atogwe

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

No player from outside the NFC North is generating more interest from you than St. Louis Rams safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, especially after ESPN's John Clayton suggested the Detroit Lions as a a possible suitor when Atogwe's contract status changes Tuesday.

Atogwe
Might St. Louis safety Oshiomogho Atogwe fit in the NFC North?
Josh of Fort Sill in Okla. thinks Atogwe and Louis Delmas would "solidify the Lions' safety position for years to come."

David of New Haven, Ind., thinks the Chicago Bears won't pursue Atogwe "because it makes too much sense." But if they do, David writes: "safety is no longer a worry but a strength!"

Wooly of Busan, South Korea, knows that the Green Bay Packers used a third-round draft pick on safety Morgan Burnett but writes: "Surely [Atogwe] is a wise move in the long term."

Chaz of St. Cloud, Minn., thinks the uneven performance of Minnesota Vikings starters Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson last season provides all the necessary incentive. Writes Chaz: "I think it is worth serious consideration, Williams always waited for the play to develop. Atogwe could be the playmaker the Vikings need to get all the way to the Super Bowl."

My NFC West colleague Mike Sando recently put together an excellent primer on Atogwe's situation. In short, NFL rules will require the Rams to increase their one-year offer from $1.226 million to nearly $7 million. If they don't do it by Tuesday, he will become a free agent with no compensation required to sign with another team.

(Even if they do increase the offer, the Rams could trade Atogwe to avoid paying the higher salary.)

Finances are only part of this issue, however. Atogwe suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last year and also had surgery to repair a sports hernia this spring. His physical condition is a bit of an unknown.

And as Sando fairly pointed out, Atogwe's reputation might precede him. He intercepted eight passes in 2007 and received the Rams' franchise player tag after the 2008 season, but the reality is Atogwe has never been to a Pro Bowl. His 2009 season -- two interceptions in 12 games -- was disappointing.

None of these potential obstacles have deterred NFC North fans from considering Atogwe's potential impact on their team. So take it away. If you want the Lions, Bears, Packers or Vikings to pursue him, by all means tell me why in the comments section below. We'll revisit this conversation later in the week.