Free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe's once-promising future with the St. Louis Rams came into question when the team extended the lowest possible offer to the former franchise player.
The Rams offered another potential sign Wednesday when they acquired free safety Kevin Payne from the Bears for a 2011 draft choice. Payne has started 22 of 32 games for the Bears over the past three seasons, picking off four passes.
Atogwe becomes a free agent in June if the Rams do not upgrade their offer to him from $1.226 million to nearly $7 million. Payne, 26, is signed through the 2010 season.
The Rams have not closed the door on Atogwe, but they appear to be protecting themselves in case they cannot work out a deal with him. It's pretty clear the team is not going to pay the nearly $7 million this season. If Atogwe decides to leave, the Rams now have better depth at the position.