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Redskins sign Free Safety O.J. Atogwe

Just hours before the current Collective Bargaining Agreement was set to expire – halting all player and personnel transactions indefinitely, until a new agreement was reached – the Redskins made their first official signing in free agency this afternoon, inking free safety Oshiomogho “O.J.” Atogwe, according to league sources. The deal is reported to be worth $26 million over five years.

In what now appears to be a bit of foreshadowing, Atogwe’s first visit after being released by the Rams on February 18th, was with the Redskins. Undoubtedly, his ties to defensive coordinator Jim Haslett – who held the same position in St. Louis when Atogwe enjoyed some of his most successful seasons – helped sway his decision to sign with Washington.

The Redskins sought to upgrade their current personnel situation at free safety, given the injuries and inconsistent play from incumbents Kareem Moore, and Reed Doughty. The situation got so bad that they eventually had to sign and immediately start free agent Macho Harris, as well as having cornerback Kevin Barnes play free safety at times.

Atogwe also fits into Haslett’s mentality of being able to force interceptions. Over the last five years, he ranks eigth in the NFL in total interceptions among all players, and is first overall in combined interceptions plus forced fumbles.

Many Redskins fans will remember Atogwe’s 75 yard fumble return for a touchdown in early 2008, which helped the Rams defeat the Redskins at FedEx field that afternoon. Jason Campbell’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and ended up being caught by offensive lineman Pete Kendall, who ended up fumbling the football, which Atogwe returned for the score.

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