Russell Okung wants to test free agency without an agent

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Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung is scheduled to become a free agent after this season.

And when he does, he’ll be out there shopping the offers himself.

In a post under his own byline at The Players Tribune, Okung explains why he won’t be using an agent to negotiate his next deal.

I know my worth. I can look at the market and go directly to a team without an agent and tell that team my worth,” he said. “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. And when it comes to reviewing the details of my next deal, I’ll hire an expert — a lawyer or a sports attorney who understands the dynamic of football contracts — to read the paperwork. I’ll negotiate a one-time flat fee that isn’t dependent on the size of my salary.”

By going without an agent, Okung will save himself the 3 percent standard commission an agent can receive (though many go lower than that in their efforts to recruit clients). And he admits that his decision isn’t for everybody, as young players trying to find their way into the league via undrafted rookie deals or practice squads often need someone in their corner.

But Okung’s a former top-10 pick, who will be 28 later this season and entering what could be the deal that will carry him through his prime years. It will be a big one. And as he says, he’s “betting on himself” that he’ll be able to maximize that opportunity.

Of course, the Seahawks have a year to keep him out of that market, and will have a chance to talk to him and his agent every day this season if they want to.

32 responses to “Russell Okung wants to test free agency without an agent

  1. dumb, an agent can act as an in-between and get back to Okung, if he doesn’t have an agent he can’t say… “let me get with Okung and get back to you.

  2. Sometimes it makes sense to keep things simple…”I would be extremely grateful for the opportunity to play for your wonderful organization and do everything in my power to help you win a Super Bowl if you can pay me ‘x’, are you in?”

  3. Sorry Russ, the seahawks have to pay their average qb $100 bajillion dollars to stay. But hey, according to all the seahawks fans he’s the best qb ever, a surefire hall of famer and he’s magical so he doesn’t need an o line, the best run game and best defense to win.

  4. A smart move if a player is willing to educate himself. Mark Tauscher (former Packers RT) did the same about ten years ago. Contrary to popular belief, offensive lineman tend to be some of the more intelligent football players (Richie Incognito a notable exception).

  5. In a one-shot world where this is all you have to consider, it’s a great idea. But it doesn’t take into consideration fielding offers for endorsements, which is where an agent actually makes his money (clue: they don’t take 3% for your EA Sports endorsement). I’m not sure Okung could dedicate the time for all that, even if he had a lawyer on retainer to handle the contract trivia.

  6. I think it’s great if you can do it. He seems like he’s smart enough to know what he knows and to know what he doesn’t. When it comes contract time, he’ll hire a professional to help with the paperwork and save himself a ton of money. Good thinking, if you ask me.

  7. What’s the old lawyer saying? A person who represents themselves has a fool for a client?

    Seems to apply in these types of negotiations if you ask me….too many moving parts and money to risk screwing it up.

  8. Why not? If he doesn’t like where the negotiations are heading he can always hire one.
    Side note: It seems as if fully 1/2 of the comments at present were made by those who didn’t even read the article.

  9. He is an above average LT, but if the hawk’s get good production from the young guys this year Russ might be too expensive next year.

  10. Watch teams try to low-ball him. He says he knows the market and he knows what he’s worth. Maybe, but I still think that there is merit in having a professional negotiator beside him.
    Good luck to him. It’s probably good experience for business post football, but I think that he’s wrong.

  11. I’d bet that 97% of what he’d get with an agent is more than 100% of what he’ll get on his own. I’d also bet he’s not going to be back in Seattle. He’s been good, but not great, and he’s hurt a lot, meaning that Seahawks fans had to watch too much of Paul McQuistan and other benchwarmers attempt to play left tackle while Wilson ran for his life every other play. You want to give a big contract to a player that’s more likely to actually be playing.

  12. In typical Okung fashion when out “shopping the FA market” He will promptly twist his ankle and start the season off on the PUP list.

  13. Okung’s value to the Hawks has been greatly reduced, not only by constant injuries, but also by playing hurt..He is not as effective when playing dinged up and therefore he is not worth a giant contract to the Hawks… Unless he signs a cap-friendly contract to stay in Seattle, he is gone- Period

  14. He could get deal in the 70-80 million range and save over $2 million. Not a bad move. Even if only $50 million he save far more than a $1 million.

  15. As a serious Seahawks fan, it seems like he’s always injured or else recovering from an injury. When he’s 100% he has been very good. But, he’s rarely at 100%. He seems to have a glass high-ankle. And that’s not to mention the holding and false start penalties. He has great talent, but it comes with too much baggage.

    Anyways, I think it’d be a major surprise to see Okung back in Seattle next year.

  16. I think I figured out why Seattle keeps drafting defensive players and moving them to offense….. They’re going to make them play both sides so they can afford Wilson.

  17. Wilson will take each and every available penny, leaving not much for the guy who is supposed to protect his blind side.

  18. reminds me of the scam artists realtors. hey realtor, tell them I will offer XX. realtor tells the other realtor, who tells the owner….will you accept XX? and then back and forth.

    yeah, I think I can handle asking a property owner if they will accept my offer and do a little back and forth. I don’t need to lose 6% of my home value dealing with some moron with a GED that took an online course and passed a test that every soccer mom in America can pass.

    I also think I can handle filling in those 6 blank spaces on the State form contract.

    realtors are the scum of the earth, followed by lawyers.

  19. Cable mentioned a couple times in interviews that it was hard to see Max Unger traded to NOLA, but the fact Max dealt with some injuries made it easier to move on.

    Since Pete and John took over they have been pretty good at dumping players who still have value but are likely a year away from regressing due to age or injury and I can see that with Okung.

  20. Free agency??

    He better not count his chickens before they hatch. This dude will be LUCKY to last an entire season with those glass ankles.

  21. dukeearl says:
    Jul 20, 2015 2:13 PM

    dumb, an agent can act as an in-between and get back to Okung, if he doesn’t have an agent he can’t say… “let me get with Okung and get back to you.
    _____________________________

    That’s the reason he’s dumb!!! LOL… He needs to pay 3% to an agent to say I’ll get back to you! Please tell me that you know Agents do much more than say, “I’ll get back to you…” Do they do their best “ARNOLD” impersonation and say, “I’LL BE BACK!”…

    Lets just say he signs a 50mil dollar deal next season… He needs to pay that agent 1.5 mil to say I’ll get back to you after I speak to Okung!!! Really… Really… And you called him dumb…

    Okung can look right across the table and say I will think about your offer and get back to you and save 3% of his earnings… Your right that’s dumb…

    DUMB!!!! LOL!!! DUMB!!!!

  22. This is very, very foolish….

    He’s going to walk into a room for the most important negotiation of his life and on one side of the table will be Russell who has never once negotiated a contract before and on the other side of the table will be Paul Allen plus associates that have negotiated an uncountable amount of contracts.

    I don’t care how much research you do or how well you think you know the market, the lack of experience WILL cost you money.

    I respect the confidence and desire to handle his own business but be smart and get some professionals on your side.

  23. rtebeleff, “I don’t care how much research you do or how well you think you know the market, the lack of experience WILL cost you money.”

    The same can be said of many agents. It all depends who your agent is. Do they have that experience that will help get the bill deal done?

    To me, it sounds like Okung has been talking to his old agent and probably a couple other agents and they may all think his value is lower because of his glass ankles. And Okung is thinking, screw the past, my value is higher than that. And so, he may be going agentless because he thinks his value is larger than what the agents are thinking.

  24. If he can handle the negotiation on his own, fine, good for him. All I know is that if he can’t stay healthy this year, with or w/out an agent, he won’t have very much leverage. He’s good when healthy, but rarely healthy.

  25. This probably not the best strategy for several reasons. I would imagine that most attorneys that are familiar with sports contracts would not bother with providing the type of service Okung is looking for–why take on the legal liability inherent in doing diligence for a fee that is greatly reduced? Second, most good attorneys have better things to do than to work under the conditions Okung is proposing.

    Also, Okung is off to a bad start with his strategy. Despite what Okung thinks his worth his–a team may value him higher because of the particular situation of the team—this is what you are paying the agent for.

    A better approach could be to find out if an agent would agree with Okung on a base value of a contract and then the agent would get a certain percentage–higher than the standard 3%–over this agreed upon amount. For example, maybe Okung thinks on his own that he can get $50million—if the agent can get $55million, then paying the agent would seem to be worth it.

  26. “In a one-shot world where this is all you have to consider, it’s a great idea. But it doesn’t take into consideration fielding offers for endorsements, which is where an agent actually makes his money (clue: they don’t take 3% for your EA Sports endorsement). I’m not sure Okung could dedicate the time for all that, even if he had a lawyer on retainer to handle the contract trivia.”

    LMAO. guy arguing in favor of an offensive lineman to get an agent due to endorsements. Humor me by naming all the offensive linemen to sign an endorsement deal in all of history. If you can come up with something I promise you the deal didnt pay more than the 3% the agent costs.

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