There is a lot of interest in former Rams safety Oshiogho (O.J.) Atogwe, Yahoo! Sports reports.
This begs the question: Why? More precisely: Why now?
The sudden interest is hard to understand. Atogwe's current free agency status is little more than a technicality. The Rams tendered him at the lowest possible level: Right of first refusal. This means any interested party could have negotiated a contract with Atogwe (two months ago) without any compensation given to the Rams.
Ah, yes, but the Rams might have matched the offer. In the immortal words of Herm Edwards: So what? The Rams can still match your offer. Further, they can also one-up you a little bit.
Regarding Atogwe's contractual status, very little changed as of last night. Once again, I am left scratching my head: Why the interest now?
If I were the head of the NFLPA, I would take note of this fact, and I would have an interest. If I were a suspicious man, I would suspect that there is a degree of collusion going on between the owners.
We'll call it a gentlemen's agreement. You don't negotiate with my restricted guys before a certain date and time, I won't negotiate with yours.
Does this harm the player in anyway?
It could have the effect of pressing contract values down. It could inspire a degree of desperation in the player and his agent. It might convince them that the player's contract value is somewhat lower than originally thought. This could convince a player to sign at a lower dollar value.
Don't think so?
Explain to me just what has changed about Atogwe's status vis-a-vis the acquiring team. Explain to me why they are interested now, when they showed no interest a month ago.