Okung’s folly: One year, $8 million, back on the market


Russell Okung didn’t want to pay an agent three percent of a long-term, big-money deal. Instead, he got to keep 100 percent of a one-year, $5 million contract in Denver.

Praised for opting to negotiate his own contract, Okung’s much-hyped five-year, $53 million deal ended up being a one-season prove-it deal. He didn’t do nearly enough to prove to the Broncos that they should guarantee another $19.5 million.

None of the $5 million was guaranteed. Okung, who previously played for the Seahawks, had to participate in 90 percent of the offseason program and be on the roster at the end of it to earn the first $1 million. Then, he had to be on the Week One roster to earn a $2 million roster bonus and a $2 million salary.

So, basically, before he even had a chance to “prove it” as to the $19.5 million, he had to prove that he should be given a chance to earn the first $5 million.

The good news is that he’ll once again be a free agent. The bad news is that many more tackles will be available this year. The worst news is that, if Okung decides to not hire an agent, teams will be allowed to negotiate with the agents representing all of the looming free-agent tackles who have agents during the two-day legal tampering period. During that same window, teams won’t be allowed to negotiate with Okung.

UPDATE 2:25 p.m. ET: By participating in 99 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, Okung secured another $3 million in playing-time incentives. So the best tackle on the open market a year ago eventually earned $8 million without a penny of it guaranteed, and he’ll now be back on the market with a lot more competition than a year ago.

35 responses to “Okung’s folly: One year, $8 million, back on the market

  1. Really shows the value of an agent. 3% is a pretty small amount, and a decent lawyer or attorney could probably add greater than that value to the player. I hope he at least hired a lawyer to review and explain the contract terms to him before he signed.

  2. There are a lot of teams that need o-line help (including Denver) and a lot of teams with a lot of cap room available. He’s going to get a decent to big contract somewhere and offensive linemen in general are going to get massive paydays this year.

  3. I remember when Washington took Trent Williams over this guy and I though they were nuts. Goes to show, what I know.

  4. There’s a reason insurance agents, financial advisors and the such exist. If you put in the time to learn what you’re doing than good for you, but sometimes that time invested to learn is worth more than the 3% you’d be giving up. And in Okungs case, it’s apparent he didn’t invest enough time.

  5. There are players who were successful renegotiating a contract with no agent, see Bruschi and Wilfork for example and those that are not. You can do it and save money but you better do your homework.

  6. Tedy Bruschi was his own agent. It worked for him.

    I won’t make 8 million in my lifetime so…

  7. Hopefully he isn’t acting as the owner-agent on his house either. A for-sale-by-owner can be just as tricky dicky.

    If I was a player, I’d call up Brock Osweiler’s agent ASAP. That guy just sold ice to eskimoes.

    Usually don’t knock on former Sun-Devils, but I can’t imagine what the Texans were thinking regardless if they are alum or not.

  8. He should have had an agent to get himself one of those big money contracts and more job security like Beachum and Clady did. Oh wait.

    Beachum signed a $45 million contract, $9 million average per year, $1.5 million guaranteed and was cut.

    Clady signed a $16 million contract, $8 million per year with $1.5 million guaranteed and was cut.

  9. Hiring an agent wouldn’t have gotten him 8.3 million (not counting the tax bump) this year which is what he would have needed to be ahead of the 8 million without the agent.

  10. If he would have played up to his potential, Denver would have picked up the option.

    Ultimately, Denver is more comfortable going after a free agent, drafting a tackle, or trading for someone like Joe Thomas.

    Maybe they are comfortable with Ty Sambrailo at LT. All I know is 12.5 million is a lot of coin for someone who didn’t play up to it.

  11. Okung allowed the fewest QB sacks of any NFL tackle during his career. That is quite an accomplishment for a LT since the best rushers often line up on his side of the line. He will have no problem finding a team as free agent.

  12. It is doubtful that the Sea Hogs will pay market value for his services. Carroll thinks that he has a great OL coach in Tom Cable, and he may be right, but even a great coach cannot perform miracles. The firing of RB coach Sherman Smith will likely make the rushing attack worse. All of these developments simply make me very happy. LOL

  13. “So the best tackle on the open market a year ago eventually earned $8 million without a penny of it guaranteed…”

    There’s that inappropriate focus on guaranteed money again. Guarantees only matter if you don’t actually deserve the salary. It even says right there that he “earned $8 million.” The key word is earned. He was healthy and played 99% of the snaps, so he got his money. Unfortunately – for both sides – he didn’t play well enough to be worth $40 million or so going forward. Why’s that a bad thing? If he was worth the money, he wouldn’t have been cut, and he’d be getting it. But he’s not worth that salary. Why is it bad that he won’t be getting money that his play doesn’t justify?

  14. This is where spotrac beats the crap out of overthecap…

    Kelvin Beachum cash earnings for 2016: $4,937,500
    Russell Okung cash earnings for 2016: $8,000,000

    Denver isn’t willing to pay the rest of the salary, which would work out to $12 million/year over the next 4 years. However, Okung actually did quite well on the one year prove-it deal regardless…without paying the standard 3%.

  15. Who knows if an agent would have been able to get him a big guaranteed money multi year contract? But, for a 1 year deal, he did pretty well for himself. I’m just shocked he was able to stay healthy for a full year considering he’s never done it before. The penalties were frustrating, but Seahawks fans biggest gripe with Okung was that he’s made of glass.

  16. omeimontis says:
    Feb 24, 2017 12:43 AM
    Okung allowed the fewest QB sacks of any NFL tackle during his career. That is quite an accomplishment for a LT since the best rushers often line up on his side of the line. He will have no problem finding a team as free agent.

    I credit Wilson’s elusiveness for that stat more than Okung’s ability. Okung is decent when healthy, maybe slightly better than mediocre. But not good enough to put up a stat like that on his own merit.

  17. jacoby brissett also negoshed his own deal, but had an advisor, and saved some money, and was the last rookie to sign a deal.

  18. eyeamlothar says:
    Feb 24, 2017 3:59 PM

    Osiris, Okung was injured a good amount as a Hawk but played over 99% of snaps last year for Denver
    Doesn’t mean he didn’t play injured. He played all the time injured for Seattle. Okung’s ankle’s are weaker than someone guarding Kyrie Irving.

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