Will Atogwe Make This FA Crop Better?
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins have a long history of not building the team through free agency. They do that through the draft. Even under Dave Wannstedt, the Phins concentrated on the draft more than the FA market…poorly concentrated but concentrated nonetheless. This year however seems to be a lot different. Especially when you throw in a blockbuster trade. So the question is this. Will the Dolphins go out and do what they need to do to land a coveted free safety named O.J. Atogwe and in the process make another big time move in an already solid off-season?
The Dolphins have added LB Karlos Dansby, the hottest free agent on the market this year next to Julius Peppers of Chicago. They added a top 5 if not better WR when they traded for Brandon Marshall. They added a mean and nasty offensive lineman in Richie Incognito who should improve an already strong unit. Yesterday they added another big promising back-up guard in Cory Procter.
Let’s not forget they also re-signed Chad Pennington and Jason Ferguson as well. In other words, this off-season has been busy and the team may not be done yet.
Sitting on the “soon to be an FA” list is current Rams FS O.J. Atogwe who just so happens to play a position that the Dolphins are less than strong at. Many fans contend that the Dolphins will be smart to go after the late entrant into the free agent market while others believe the Dolphins have spent enough money and will go with what they have. Tyrone Culver, Chris Clemons, or rookie Reshad Jones.
The truth is the only one who knows what this team will do, is Jeff Ireland. It’s his call.
Atogwe would be the immediate starter if the Phins ran out and signed him, but they may take a more cautious approach after spending last season on Gibril Wilson and missing completely. So much of a miss that Wilson was released around the draft after one season. Yet the Phins waited until day 3 of the draft to take a player that they believe can grow into the FS position. So does that mean that Culver or Clemons is ready for the full time? Not necessarily, or maybe yes. Depending on what side of the fence you sit on.
Again, the question comes down to what this team wants to do, how much money they want to spend, and will they outbid several other teams who may be on the market for a starting safety. The answers lie somewhere in the halls of the training facility. These Dolphins if nothing else don’t talk to the media unless they have to, so defining their interest in any player is not easy and you would be closer to finding out the answer if you simply threw a couple of darts at a dart-board.
Atogwe may be a fit in Miami but that hardly means he will be a lock come June 1st when he is eligible to sign with any other NFL team. The Rams too are not expected to let him simply walk without a little fight. Either way, Atogwe will come into the off-season a little late but a solo act among what is left. And definitely the top at his position of currently available players.
The Miami off-season thus far has been pretty impressive. With the trade for Marshall, the solid free agent moves, and an on paper a solid draft, the addition of Atogwe can only improve an already stellar off-season. If, and that is a big “IF” the Dolphins decide they want him.