Eagles agree to terms with safety Atogwe
The Eagles finally added some veteran safety insurance Wednesday when they agreed to terms of a one-year contract with 30-year-old safety O.J. Atogwe.
The Eagles are the third team in three years for Atogwe, who had 22 interceptions in six years with the Rams before signing a five-year, $26 million contract that included a $7 million bonus with the Redskins in March of 2011. But the Redskins released him this past March after a disappointing, injury-marred season, and he’s been on the street since.
Atogwe had three interceptions last year but struggled with injuries in his one year in Washington. He started only seven games and missed three with knee and toe injuries.
At his best, Atogwe was a ballhawk playmaking free safety. He had eight interceptions in 2007 and five in 2008, and during that two-year span, only Ed Reed had more interceptions among all NFL players.
Since 2006, when Atogwe first became a full-time starter, Atogwe’s 24 interceptions are second-most among all safeties, behind Reed’s 35, and fifth-most in the league, behind Asante Samuel (39), Charles Woodson (37), Reed (35) and DeAngelo Hall (27).
Where does Atogwe fit in here?
Nate Allen, 24, and Kurt Coleman, 23, remain the projected starters for 2012, but the chance to bring in a proven veteran like Atogwe to provide leadership, experience and competition was too good to pass up.
Allen and Coleman were both benched at some point last year, Allen as he struggled to bounce back from knee surgery and Coleman with consistency in his tackling. They will go into training camp next month as the starters, but they now have a productive, battle-tested veteran pushing them.
“O.J. will bring us veteran, quality depth at the safety position,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. “We feel good about the young safeties we have on our roster, but our goal is to have the most competition possible at all of our positions as we head into training camp.
"O.J.’s presence will help to enhance that for the safety group. He is an accomplished player in this league, and we’re happy to have him.”
Jaiquawn Jarrett, a second-round pick out of Temple in 2011, is also in the mix at safety. Rehabbing Colt Anderson, veteran Tom Nelson and undrafted rookie Phillip Thomas are also on the roster.
Atogwe has started 82 games. Allen, Coleman and Jarrett have started a combined 42.
To make room on the 90-man roster for Atogwe, the Eagles released long snapper Matt Camilli.E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.