You know what a Washington Redskins fan does better than any other fan in the NFL?
About everything. All the time. No matter what. So much so that one of their local writers, Dave McKenna from City Paper, is getting sued by Redskins owner Dan Synder for defamation (and antisemitism to boot!). It's a veritable hotbed of bloviating talking heads - PTI and Around the Horn are both filmed in DC - who love nothing more than to welcome new hires with a black bouquet.
So this whole five-year deal for former Ram OJ Atogwe must have gone over like Mel Gibson at a bat mitzvah, right? Let's go to the Internet...
"In signing O.J. Atogwe, the Redskins have made a move that is drawing solid reviews." - Washington Post
Wait, that had to be a typo. What say you, highly respected and vitriolic Redskins Blog?
"So: a signing that addresses a need, is met with overwhelming approval from the masses (at least based on my Twitter @ replies), AND seems like a quirky, bloggable guy? I can handle that."
Hmm. What gives?
OOOOHHHH... that's right. OJ Atogwe is a 29-year-old, hard-working safety in the prime of his career, a defensive captain who can lead a team morally and physically.
You know, one who the St. Louis Rams just happened to cut.
And the reason is none other than the Rams' old nemesis—the dollar bill.
You see, OJ was owed an $8 million roster bonus last week, but instead of paying the money to a cornerstone defensive player, they played a little shell game and hoped no one peeked under the cup with a Pro-Bowl caliber secondary member in it. The Redskins called the bluff and made OJ feel wanted, leaving yet another gaping hole for the Rams to service (this?) off-season.
And while many point to Stan Kroenke and scream "WAL-MART", the simple fact is that the Rams always will be a cheap team. Even with an owner that could buy up to 10 other NFL teams and still live comfortably.
Two reasons: 1) Stan is a business man, first and foremost. He knows that even though people nationally are talking about this lockout, he's still just a couple years removed from having all the leverage in a stadium battle with the city of St. Louis. 2) The Rams are a small market team. The base of people that support the Rams just isn't as big or as invested as the Cardinals, so they're constantly trying to find ways to take from big brother without stepping on too many toes.
The Rams lost Atogwe because the Rams had to lose Atogwe. They signed him to a deal knowing that they'd never buck up $8 million just for his being alive at the beginning of March. And when the check came due, they bailed on the bill. Just like they have in the past and just like they will in the future.
Unless the Rams get a new stadium, this is just the way it will be. Maybe the new collective bargaining agreement will change this a little. But at the end of the day, there are too many Dan Snyders and Jerry Joneses and Woody Johnsons out in the NFL landscape to truly have a franchise in St. Louis that's going to risk money to make money.
And sure, they'll get lucky now and again... but don't get too comfortable in those Bradford jerseys, my friends, because the clock is already ticking on the time young Sam has in St. Louis.