A Potential Falcon Free Agent: O.J. Atogwe

ST. LOUIS - OCTOBER 31: Oshiomogho Atogwe #21 of the St. Louis Rams celebrates a sack against the Carolina Panthers at the Edward Jones Dome on October 31 2010 in St. Louis Missouri. The Rams beat the Panthers 20-10. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The Falcons already have a talented free safety in Thomas DeCoud, so you may be wondering why I even bring up the venerable name of Oshiomogho Atogwe here. This is considerable conjecture, even by my standards.

What makes this signing tempting is how awesome Atogwe really is. In six seasons, he's collected 22 picks, 38 passes defended, 16 forced fumbles, 5 sacks and 390 tackles, all while playing for a (mostly) lowly Rams team. He's a playmaking safety who is about to turn 30 but looks to have a few more good seasons left in the tank, and the Rams just released him.

What's the benefit for the Falcons? They get an arguably elite defender in the secondary, one who is extremely capable against the run and opportunistic against the pass. No matter how well you think the current bunch is progressing, it's hard to argue that Atogwe wouldn't be an upgrade in there and now.

Two drawbacks loom large here. First off, Atogwe isn't going to be cheap. The Rams cut him because they didn't want to pay an $8 million roster bonus, but he's fresh off another great season and he'll draw a ton of interest on the open market. The second is that this would relegate Thomas DeCoud to backup duty unless the team wanted to try him out at cornerback, which I doubt they'd be all that keen on.

I frankly doubt it happens, but I do think the guy is one of the best free agents on the market in 2011. What's your take?

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