Meet the new member of the Philadelphia Eagles, O.J. Atogwe. Inked to a one-year contract, Atogwe will hopefully come in and make the Eagles’ secondary for comfortable in the backfield.
The seven-year veteran was selected by the St. Louis Rams in 2005 and had his breakout season in 2007 with 75 tackles and 8 interceptions. Atogwe was later picked up by the Washington Redskins, but they failed to re-sign him to a new contract. Third team later, Atogwe suits up in hopes of the third time being a charm. Everyone can agree the Eagles have had a great offseason so far. With one of the best drafts in the entire league, there were little to no complaints about what the Eagles were trying to accomplish this summer.
However, the ones that did complain, brought up the lack of stability at the safety position. Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry were a few names being tossed around the rumor mill, but no deals were made. Will Atogwe be the answer as he turns 31 this weekend?
Atogwe is not a jaw-dropping player. That is simply not how he plays defense- and he is okay with that. With 25 total interceptions over his 101 played games, you can average him out to give get about four picks a season. Here’s the dilemma. The Eagles currently have Nate Allen at free safety and Kurt Coleman at strong safety as the starters heading into camp. Who will he push for a starting position? Both players each have 5 interceptions in their two years in the league and have yet to make an immediate impact at their position.
Why Atogwe will make the Philly defense better is because of this- whoever he challenges for a position, you can bet the winner will put the team in better hands. The Eagles organization will be the ones deciding where this piece of the puzzle will fit best, but I say he should challenge Allen at the free safety spot. If Allen wins, then great! We know this young player beat out an experienced veteran and must’ve showed some promising features heading into the 2012 season. If Atogwe comes out looking like the better option, then that’s just one more genius move the Eagles made this offseason. Really, it’s a win-win.
When is the last time a team hasn’t benefited from a one-year contract? If he comes into camp and becomes a starter, then you ink him to a fresh contract and you now have a stable starter. If he only comes in every now and then to pick up the slack, well then he’ll be in the category of Ronnie Brown, Vince Young, Takeo Spikes, Ernie Sims and others that come to mind when you think of one-and-done players.
I do like picking up Atogwe and adding him to the defense. This move will certainly give the front office more confidence in whoever starts at the safety position, and when the front office is happy, everyone is happy.
Personally, I’m calling it early–Atogwe beats out Allen and starts along side Kurt Coleman in 2012.