Russell Okung To Negotiate Own Deal

While Russell Wilson‘s contract situation receives most of the attention in Seattle, the Seahawks have a handful of other key contributors eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, with Bobby Wagner, Bruce Irvin, and Russell Okung among the players who could sign elsewhere if they’re not extended.

Okung, the team’s starting left tackle, will be representing himself in contract negotiations, explaining in a piece for The Players’ Tribune why he has parted ways with his agent. Formerly represented by Peter Schaffer, Okung intends to negotiate his own deal this time around, avoiding having to pay a 2.5% fee to his agent.

“I know my worth,” Okung explained. “I can look at the market and go directly to a team without an agent and tell that team my worth. And I can do so with confidence because I’ve done my research, I’ve educated myself and I’ve questioned the answers I’ve been given.”

While Okung alludes to the possibility of reaching the open market, it’s possible he and the Seahawks will work something out before he officially becomes a free agent next March. Of course, the veteran tackle’s worth might not be as clear to the team as it is to him, considering he has missed time with injuries in each of his five NFL seasons.

In 2014, Okung dealt with a labrum tear and a bruised lung after having undergone foot surgery in the offseason. The 27-year-old still managed to play 14 regular season contests and appeared in every offensive snap in the postseason, but his injury history may make the Seahawks wary of committing a significant chunk of money to him, particularly with Wilson and others also seeking new deals.

On the other hand, the offensive line has been one of Seattle’s weakest position groups in recent years, and the team will be without center Max Unger in 2015 — Unger, who went to New Orleans in the Jimmy Graham trade, was the only starting lineman to receive a positive grade from Pro Football Focus (subscription required) last year. As such, the prospect of locking up Okung, a former Pro Bowler who is reliable when he’s healthy, could appeal to the Seahawks.

For now, the former sixth overall pick ranks among the top 10 highest-paid left tackles in the NFL, with an annual average value of just over $8MM. He’ll count for $7.28MM against the cap in 2015.

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