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Big doings for Miami Dolphins in next few days

A quick glance at the calendar tells you a couple of notable things about the Dolphins.

Today is May 28 so the team's mandatory three-day minicamp begins in earnest with a 10 a.m. practice. You should be here throughout the day for updates and also follow me on my twitter account for quickie 140-character updates, including some as practice is happening.

Secondly, June 1st is approaching and everyone is expecting a decision from the St. Louis Rams on what to do with free safety O.J. Atogwe. As the Herald first reported months ago, Atogwe will become a free agent unless the Rams sign him to a long-term contract, offer him a one-year tender at 110 percent of his 2009 salary (it was $6.3 million so the tender would be $6,993,000), or trade him.

I cannot see the Rams simply letting Atogwe go without getting something for him. That would be personnel malpractice. If a trade is in the works, Atogwe will sign his tender no later than Monday and then be dealt. Atogwe will not sign his current tender and stay with St. Louis.

Will the Dolphins be interested? Again, as The Herald reported months ago, Miami will be a player if Atogwe is out there.

The question is to what degree?

The Dolphins set a budget for what they believed two free safeties were worth this offseason when they chased Antrel Rolle and Ryan Clark. They landed neither. I believe the Dolphins will set a price for Atogwe internally and if they can get him for that, then so be it.

(It must be noted the Dolphins just saved themselves $3.05 million by cutting Reggie Torbor on Thursday so they have dollars in the 2010 budget to work with.)

But it's not a certainty the Dolphins would be able to land Atogwe if he becomes available because in a best-case scenario it could require a bigger contract Miami is willing to offer, as other teams will also be interested. In a worst-case, it could even require trade compensation and a big contract to land Atogwe.

One has to wonder how desperate the team is to make this move ...

Are the Dolphins desperate enough to offer a draft pick or player to the Rams in trade? Are they only desperate enough to jump into a bidding war? Is Miami's interest limited to a signing that would be big, but not fiscally irresponsible?

Or are the Dolphins out of this derby because they are truly happy with second-year player Chris Clemons at free safety?

Logically, I believe you can rule out the latter choice because the Dolphins already showed they want to upgrade the position beyond Clemons. Sorry, Chris.

The other questions that will tell us the extent of Miami's interest will be answered soon enough.

This much is certain, Atogwe will have suitors -- perhaps in Dallas, perhaps Chicago.

Or maybe, just maybe, the Rams step up and pay him.

We should know in the next several days.

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