The Rams are working to reach agreement with FS O.J. Atogwe on a long-term contract, with his restricted free-agent tender set to expire Tuesday, a source with knowledge of the situation has told NFL.com.
Atogwe didn't receive an offer sheet from another team before the April 15 deadline, but he also hasn't signed his tender, which would pay him $1.226 million for 2010, a huge decrease from the $6.342 million he earned last season as a franchise free agent.
If the two sides don't agree on a new contract, the Rams will have until midnight Tuesday to decide whether to extend their qualifying offer at a significantly higher level or allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.
Because the Rams had franchised Atogwe last offseason, the only way they could avoid tendering him at 110 percent of his '09 salary, or nearly $7 million, this year was to offer him the lowest possible tender. That gave the Rams the right of first refusal on any offer sheet Atogwe might have signed but no compensation if they chose not to match the offer.
However, under the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, should the Rams face the decision of whether to extend a new qualifying offer to Atogwe or release him on June 1, they would have to offer him 110 percent of last year's salary, or $6.976 million, to retain exclusive rights to him.
Related link: Restricted free agents who haven't signed their tenders
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