If the NFL's salary structure were any more arcane, it would be the subject of Dan Brown's next Da Vinci Code sequel. Still, it added some drama to the woeful Rams' off-season when the team decided to let free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe become an unrestricted free agent. Did the team really want to part with one of its few playmakers? Absolutely not. But the brain trust of general manager Billy Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo clearly reasoned that Atogwe, as talented as he is, wouldn't be worth as much on the open market as Atogwe himself believed — and that the only way to convince him of this reality was to let him try to create that market. It was a bold move. Some even said reckless. After all, the Rams aren't exactly swimming in talented youngsters. But it was also correct. Atogwe found no takers, and the Rams were able to secure him to a multi-year deal close to their desired terms. Arcane? Maybe. But worth savoring: It's been a long time since anyone has used "the Rams' front office" and "shrewd" in the same sentence.
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