Russell Okung apparently will have to prove himself this year to get the deal that shows he and -- in his view -- other NFL players don’t need an agent, after all.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson was the first to report Thursday the Seahawks’ free-agent left tackle was on the verge of signing a five-year contract with the Super Bowl-champion Denver Broncos that would be worth $10.6 million per year.
The Broncos announced Thursday afternoon they signed Okung to a five-year deal.
Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports reported the contract to which Okung agreed with the Broncos is $5 million in base pay and up to $3 million in potential bonuses for 2016, with the Broncos holding a team option after the coming season for four more years at $12 million per year. So if Denver picks up the option after the 2016 season Okung’s deal becomes five years, $53 million, $10.6 million per season in all.
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If the Broncos don’t pick up the option, Okung would be a free agent again this time next year.
Okung accepting a one-year, prove-it deal and then a team option suggests the Seahawks didn’t have even a one-year offer -- meaning, they had no offer -- on the table by the time Denver acted.
If Okung ends up realizing the option, it would be top-shelf money most thought Okung would not be able to get without agent representation, coming off recent shoulder surgery and eight days into free agency -- six days after the big-bucks deals were supposedly all done. Or given Okung has never stayed healthy enough to play a complete, 16-game regular season in his six NFL seasons with Seattle.
That would money that leaves Okung justified in saying, “See, you don’t need an agent.”
At the maximum 3-percent commission rate agents get on NFL contracts, per the cap from the league’s players’ union, Okung could be saving at least $318,000 per year on agent fees. Okung has been consulting with the union since before entering free agency.
Again, though, that remains an “if” after a prove-it 2016 season for Okung in Denver.
So what now for the Seahawks on their offensive line that was already in flux and iffy? They could be moving 2015 starting right tackle Garry Gilliam or J’Marcus Webb, a guard and tackle they signed this week from Oakland, to left tackle. Seattle’s shopping at tackle and across the entire offensive line is likely to continue through next month’s draft and this summer’s preseason.
The Broncos were the last known interested team in Okung’s tour that has included the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers. He also had an understanding with and standing offer from the Seahawks, who drafted him sixth overall in 2010. But Seattle wasn’t going to and couldn’t give him near the money Denver reportedly has -- maybe the first year but not the rich, four-year team option after that.