Teams who received Okung email have obligation to alert Seahawks


Russell Okung the agent already is screwing things up for his only client.

Okung’s decision to send an email to all teams alerting them to the fact the he will be healthy in June after shoulder surgery doesn’t constitute tampering. However, the anti-tampering policy prevents any team that received the message from engaging with him. It also mandates that any team who received it immediately alert the Seahawks.

Here’s what the policy says: “If a club is contacted by a player (or his representative) who is under contract to or whose negotiating rights are held by another club, and such player had not been given permission to deal with other clubs, or such player is not in a permissible negotiating period under the terms of an operative collective bargaining agreement, then the contacted club is prohibited from talking or otherwise dealing with the player or his representative, and the contacted club must immediately report such contact to the owner or operating head of the club which holds the player’s rights.”

Unless the Seahawks authorized Okung to communicate with other teams (and if they did his email blast likely would have said so), no one can respond to the email without violating the rules.

Here’s where having an agent would have helped Okung get his message across without creating a potential mess for the teams involved. An agent could have called each of the teams and verbally communicated the information with no paper trail. The teams, as a practical matter, could have responded. While it would have violated the rules technically, there would have been no way to prove it.

Moreover, these communications happen regarding impending free agents all the time. It used to hit the boiling point at the Scouting Combine. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, it’s already happening at the practices preceding the Senior Bowl.

From Okung’s perspective, he definitely got his message across. But now every team that received the email has an obligation to send the email back to the Seahawks with an explanation that they received the email from Okung.

36 responses to “Teams who received Okung email have obligation to alert Seahawks

  1. But it sounds like it didn’t hurt anything so who cares? His message was delivered to all teams just like it would have been if an agent had made the phone calls.

  2. Well, if he really did send that email to all 32 teams, we can assume the Seahawks have already printed in out and hung it in his locker with handwritten instructions to bring his playbook up to the office…

  3. To borrow the phrase about someone being their own lawyer: ‘he who represents himself has a fool for a client’.

  4. He doesn’t care. The teams don’t care, and never have. The league obviously doesn’t care. So why should we?

  5. Question, can the teams that received the email from him not negotiate with him at all? Even after he is technically a free agent and no longer a member of the Seahawks?

    Or, can they just not talk to him now, but once free agency opens, they can again talk to him (assuming they forwarded the email back to the Seahawks)?

    If it’s the first option, seems a bit overkill. If he doesn’t have salary demands, and it’s just an email saying “i’ll be healthy”. I can see why the league doesn’t want it to happen, but if the other teams followed the rules and notified the team, who cares?

    If it’s the second option, it doesn’t matter at all. He can’t sign yet, so if the only requirement is that other teams notify the Seahawks, then once free agency starts it’s all good, then this seems like a very pointless story

  6. I’m sure NFL teams have enough personnel that they can spare a couple minutes to report the contact. I’m also willing to bet that teams will be dealing more and more with players choosing to represent themselves. Most of these guys graduate with sports management degrees anyways right?

  7. That is a weird rule that they have to alert the Seahawks, considering the news of this is public… They shouldn’t have to alert the Seahawks if the news is already out there.

  8. He must know the Seahawks are disappointed in his play and are probably not going to pay him so he’s wanting other teams to know he’s going to be ready by next year. Just FYI GM’s, he likes to false start A LOT.

  9. Silly rules make for silly actions make for silly stories. Frankly, who cares? I’m sure the Seahawks are well aware of Okung’s thoughts and intentions.

  10. Alvin Bailey is as good or better and at a fraction of the cost. He’ll probably end up on the Jets. They always sign our castoff OLs.

  11. poor post, Mike. You know better. No harm, no foul. And in this case, really only upside.

  12. PFT cares more about tampering than the NFL. Teams and fans don’t really care about semantics. Only once in the last few years did I see it become an issue and it was division rivals trying to stick it to each other.

  13. DrSteveBrule says:
    Jan 27, 2016 4:56 PM
    I’m surprised that an NFL player chose to send an actual email instead of just posting what they wanted to say on their Twitter account.

    My best bet is that he thought it would be more formal or something to do it this way.

  14. And this is exactly why the whole tampering thing is stupid. He can’t do it, but he can hire a lawyer, and the lawyer can do it. No doubt, this rule was put in by lawyers. Okung is my new hero. Lawyers usually end up costing you more money in the long run.

  15. Seahawks SHOULD draft the future left tackle in the first round and let Cable do his magic.

  16. Okung better come back for a good value. The seahawks have paid this man to sit on the sidelines what feels like half of his rookie contract. Either he comes cheaper at a discount ( which I doubt happens) or they move on. This guy can’t play 16 games and as he ages that only gets worse and worse and slower to recover.

    Guy is a good guy, hard worker,has good perspective from what we hear about in Seattle. Great locker room guy but damn if you can’t be on the field you don’t deserve to get a huge payday.

  17. Hey Pete, Russel contacted me and says he’ll be fine next year.

    End of my responsibility.

    GM of NFL team

  18. The Jets have demonstrated that it is no big deal to tamper. They did it (blatantly) to the patriots and Goodell simply snickered and gave the Jets a fine. the fine was roughly equivalent to $5 or $10 to the average person.

  19. From Okung’s perspective, he definitely got his message across. But now every team that received the email has an obligation to send the email back to the Seahawks with an explanation that they received the email from Okung.
    Someone at the office of each team will have to click the “forward” button on Okung’s e-mail and send it to the Seahawks. There’s someone at the Seahawks who will get 31 copies of the same message from each team + the copy they already received from Okung.

    So why is this a big huge problem that Okung should regret? He obviously wasn’t trying to behave in secret. He won’t be fined or disciplined for his actions. Any team that was going to consider signing him won’t suddenly decide not to.

    I’d be more concerned if he sent all the teams an e-mail from a Nigerian Prince trying to cash a check. Someone like Dan Snyder might fall for it.

  20. Okung will not be back with the Seahawks next year. He draws too many false starts and holding penalties in crucial moments and he’s made of glass from the high-ankle down.

    Draft O-line. Sweezy should be easier to keep, but only if he wants to stay with Seattle.

  21. Strikes me that Okung realizes he is on the chopping block and was hoping to get some early bids. Pretty dumb move for a smart guy, as it doesn’t give the Seahawks much incentive to try to keep him. The last thing they are looking for is a bidding war.

  22. I’m not an attorney, nor do I claim to know much about contract law – BUT, my question is; What is the difference between sending out a mass email to ALL teams regarding his shoulder surgery and posting the same ‘generic’ info on his social media (twitter, facebook, etc…)?

  23. If he notified all teams, it is going to be tough to discipline him on this or cry tampering. I’m a union VP, not too fluent in the language or contract the NFLPA/nfl have agreed to, but this is not a clear contractual issue. For a discipline case to stick in most bargaining unit situations, there is a burden of proof that lies on the employer. The nfl has to prove he was tampering to gain an advantage in free agency. Simply saying he is healthy, is not anything like saying he wants to do a physical for a team, work out for a team, etc…

    This would be an easy case for the NFLPA to beat, especially since he included the Seahawks

  24. btw, This Doesn’t Make Okung look foolish. He was brilliant to do this. It gives him more bargaining power and raises his leverage on Seattle.

    Personally, I hope to see him leave. He’s better than average but health and penalty issues are an issue with this dude. He’s not worth what he is gonna go after.

  25. .
    Rich Eisen conducted a hard hitting interview with his boss….Lol I wonder if Goodell was given the questions prior?

    People have focused their attention on Mortenson, however Eisen repeated the 11 out of 12 story on a daily basis for 3 months. He has been given a free pass by the national media, for reasons known only to ” the media insiders”.

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