One of the Washington Redskins recent cap casualties is free safety Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe. He signed a five-year contract worth $26 million dollars just last March. This was an interesting move by the Redskins. Even though they will save money against the cap, they are giving up on a quality safety far too easily.
He did have some injuries that prevented him from starting every game last year. Atogwe started 8 games and finished with 60 tackles and 3 interceptions. Not too long ago, he was considered one of the games best safeties. I understand the Redskins want to cut contracts for cap room, but good starting safeties are hard to come by anymore. This leaves them with a big hole to fill, and LaRon Landry is also a free agent. They could be looking at losing both of their starting safeties.
The Cowboys have not been too vocal on what their plan is at the safety position. They could decide to bring back Abram Elam for another one-year deal or draft a safety in the upcoming NFL Draft. Gerald Sensabaugh looks like more of a prototypical strong safety, this is why Atogwe makes even more sense. Signing him means you can move Sensabaugh back to strong safety and play Atogwe at free safety. It enhances what we already have on our roster and upgrades another position.
This could be an opportunity for the Cowboys to pounce on a quality safety. We have a need at free safety and he needs a team. This is a win, win situation for both sides. It also wouldn't hurt to pluck one of our division rivals, after all one man's trash is another man's treasure.
Take the jump for more O.J......
This won't be the first time the Cowboys will have a shot at signing Atogwe. Back in 2010, the team showed some interest when he was about to enter free agency. Instead he resigned a contract the St. Louis Rams offered and remained with the team. The new contract was short lived as the Rams released him in February of 2011. Once again Atogwe was on the market, available for the Cowboys to sign.
They passed on him a second time when the Redskins swooped in and signed the free agent safety to a five-year deal. Now the Cowboys will have a third opportunity to sign a solid safety that would fill a major hole in the secondary. The question that many of you are thinking about while reading this is, why didn't the Cowboys sign him the first time they had a chance?
It is a very valid question. Maybe the team is not high on Atogwe to start with, but they should be. Free safety has been an ongoing problem that has prevented this defense from being better than what they are. The quarterbacks we play have no fear going deep against our safeties because there is nobody who presents a threat to them.
One can point out that Atogwe has had an extensive injury history during his 7-year career, but in my mind his 25 career interceptions make up for it. We have not had a safety who could ball-hawk like him in a very long time. The free agent safety market isn't exactly loaded with premier talent either. He won't be on the market for very long because of how watered down the safety market has become, so the Cowboys must be aggressive if they want to sign him.
This would be a good signing to start free agency off with. There has been some sort of interest in him previously, so maybe the third time is a charm.