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O.J. Atogwe: Pursue or No?

Oshiomogho Atogwe is a restricted free agent from St. Louis. He was the Rams' franchise player a year ago but only received the lowest tender possible, the right of first refusal. That means the Rams may match any offer another team makes but receive no compensation if he walks.

This seems like a match made in heaven to me. Atogwe is only 28 years old. He showed remarkable durability starting 62 straight games before a 2009 shoulder injury. Much like Kerry Rhodes, the only reason he has never been to a Pro Bowl is reputation of other players trumping results on the field. He's been a real playmakers for St. Louis' defense with 19 interceptions in those 62 starts since 2006. He's perhaps not as much of a pure cover safety as Rhodes but has been more of a playmaker. He can handle most backs and tight ends adequately.

The Rams didn't ask him to rush the passer much, but he did either pressure or hit the opposing quarterback on about one third of his blitzes in 2009. He was generally effective in that role. If there's a knock on him, it's his run defense. He's a pretty hard hitter but doesn't always take the best path to ball carriers and can get himself out of position, which is somewhat troubling on the last line of defense. Then again, the Jets aren't exactly going to miss Rhodes in run support all that much.

The good is he'll only cost money for compensation. The bad is the Jets will need to outbid the Rams and other suitors. The good is Mike Tannenbaum is usually pretty decisive when bidding against others. The bad is there has been little word of the Jets pursuing Atogwe to date. The good is the Rams wouldn't franchise him again for a one year deal around $7 million so why would they match a long term offer with that as a first year salary?The bad is that's probably overpaying him.

I think the Rhodes trade has left the Jets with little choice but to overpay for a guy like this. One reason I was against the deal was it left a gaping hole. Atogwe would fill that hole well. You could argue having Atogwe and a fourth round pick is better than just having Rhodes.

I vote pursue.

How do you vote?