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O.J. Atogwe Has a $500,000 Game Roster Bonus (I'd Play Hurt Too)

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Always a step too late.
Always a step too late.

Clarification Update: This $500K bonus is if he plays every game...it's not $500K per game.

Something is obviously wrong with O.J. Atogwe. Week after week he has been in the Redskins starting lineup with little effect. He took mental reps pretty much all of training camp with a hamstring injury and he's been playing hurt ever since. Even though yesterday OJ said, "I've been feeling really good," Shanahan said post-game:

"O.J. keeps on trying to go out there and play at a high level, but he's playing injured," Shanahan said. "He's never been able to get back to full speed with the start and with the knee, and the ankle and the hamstring. But it's good to have him up, because with Landry being down, we're a little short on depth."

Add the toe to that list. I'm not sure how a player can feel "really good" when he hasn't practiced fully in three weeks. Do I sense a little of the ole Malcolm Kelly "It's feeling better" silver tongue here? Most players play with injuries we don't know about, but all three of those combined are news to me. O.J. was nursing injuries when they signed him from the Rams just before the lockout, so it made sense to make some of his contract incentive based. Via Rotoworld, here's the contract details:

3/3/2011: Signed a five-year, $26 million contract. The deal contains $9.4 million guaranteed, including a first-year $6.5 million roster bonus and all of his first-year salary. $2 million of Atogwe's second-year salary is guaranteed, but for injury only. Atogwe is eligible for annual $100,000 workout bonuses throughout the contract's life.

Another $1.45 million in 2011 is available in salary escalators.
2011: $900,000 (+ $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses),
2012-2013: $3.4 million (+ $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses),
2014: $3.6 million (+ $1 million roster bonus),
2015: $3.7 million (+ $1.5 million roster bonus),
2016: Free Agent.

When the Redskins signed the ball-hawk safety away from the Rams just before the lockout, one stat uniquely stood out: Since 2005, OJ has ranked as good or better in almost every stat when compared to Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. He has more forced fumbles, recovered fumbles, solo tackles, and is in the middle of the pack with 19 interceptions. Does that sound like the same Atogwe the Redskins signed? No.

The Redskins don't seem to care too much about the $500K bonus, especially given the lack of depth at Safety, but at what point do we really know the extent of OJ's injuries? Is he down-playing them so he doesn't get shut down and lose that $500K roster game bnous?? Sure seems like it to me. He can't make plays.