NFC Notes: Carlson, Okung, Thomas

Former Cardinals tight end John Carlson unexpectedly announced his retirement in May, leaving Arizona searching for a veteran replacement this summer. As Carlson tells Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune, he considered the health risks inherent in continuing to play after suffering multiple concussions when he made his decision. But with three kids under the age of five at home, he admits that his priorities were shifting as well.

“It was clear already that I didn’t have that same passion and love for the game that I had in the past,” Carlson said, adding that committing so much time to the NFL meant he wasn’t “nearly the husband and father” he wanted to be.

While Carlson adjusts to retirement, the Cardinals are eyeing possible free agent alternatives like Jermaine Gresham and Chris Cooley. Here’s more from across the NFC:

  • Seahawks tackle Russell Okung, who has parted ways with his agent, is consulting with agents and may hire one to assist with his contract, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. Okung would pay that consultant a flat fee rather than a percentage of his new deal.
  • Meanwhile, Okung tells Josina Anderson of (Twitter link) that he’s “optimistic” about his future with the Seahawks and will be speaking with the team soon about his situation. I’d speculated earlier this week that Okung may prefer to wait until after the season to discuss his contract, so as not to interfere with his on-field performance this summer.
  • With Okung planning to negotiate his own deal, and Giants running back Rashad Jennings encouraging other players to do the same (as Nick Powell of writes), Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk lists several things an agent can do to help a player and earn his commission, outside of simply negotiating a contract. It’s worth approaching any praise of agents from reporters with a critical eye – since agents are often the sources of insider information for those reporters – but Florio’s breakdown is a good one.
  • Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, recovering from shoulder surgery, acknowledges to Ed Werder of that he’s not sure if he’ll be ready to go when the regular season gets underway.
  • With their division rivals making roster upgrades this offseason, Chip Kelly and the Eagles decided Philadelphia’s upside wasn’t quite high enough, and the team couldn’t afford to stand pat, writes David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News in a look at the NFC East.
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