O.J. Atogwe and Washington Redskins agree to five-year deal

By Mike Jones
Friday, March 4, 2011; 12:38 AM

The Washington Redskins have signed free agent safety O.J. Atogwe, the team announced Thursday. Atogwe's deal is for $26 million over five years, according to a league source.

Atogwe, who was released by the St. Louis Rams on Feb. 18, visited Redskins Park four days later but left without signing a contract. Washington signed Atogwe hours before the league and the players' union agreed to extend negotiations of a new collective bargaining agreement by 24 hours.

Atogwe was free to sign with any team because he had been released, and his rights weren't held by any team.

At the time, he wanted to continue to weigh his options in free agency.

But Atogwe had ties to the Redskins, having played for defensive coordinator Jim Haslett from 2006 to 2007, when Haslett held the same position with the Rams.

The Redskins were looking to upgrade the free safety position after Kareem Moore struggled both with performance and health last season. Moore ended the year on injured reserve and had to have a second knee surgery of the season (the first was performed in August). He is still recovering.

The Redskins expect to use Moore as a backup to Atogwe, according to a source.

With Atogwe and strong safety LaRon Landry, Washington should have a strong starting tandem.

Atogwe, 29, is strong in pass coverage, having recorded 22 interceptions in six seasons. His best season was 2007, when he notched eight interceptions while playing under Haslett. Last season, the 5-foot-11, 205-pound Atogwe recorded 73 tackles, 9 pass deflections and 3 interceptions.

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