The Seahawks are reported to be making a strong offer to keep unrestricted free agent left tackle Russell Okung.
The NFL free agent signing period begins Wednesday at 1 p.m. Conventional wisdom has been that the Seahawks’ first order of business would be to try to re-sign some of their own key free agents.
And as the hour for the signing period to begin nears comes another report keeping their own players is indeed their initial priority, with NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport stating that the Seahawks have made a “strong offer” to left tackle Russell Okung.
Okung is acting as his own agent and is technically prohibited from talking to other teams until free agency officially begins. He can, however, talk to the Seahawks and Seattle appears to be trying to keep him in the fold before he can hit the open market.
Okung just finished a six-year contract paying $48.5 million signed after being the sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft.
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He had surgery last month on his left shoulder after it was dislocated in the divisional playoff loss to Carolina, but he has stated he will be ready for the season.
While some might have wondered if the Seahawks would make big moves in free agency to revamp the offensive line, both coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider hinted strongly at the value they place in continuity in comments they made at the NFL combine last month.
Asked about the line, Carroll said he prefers to look at how it played in the second half of the season — when Russell Wilson threw 24 of his 34 touchdown passes — than the first half. Wilson was sacked 31 times in the first seven games but just 15 in the final nine.
“We’re looking at it like what happened to us and how we dealt with our situation in the first half of the season and how we transitioned, because we really did shift,’’ Carroll said. “And after the bye we improved tremendously.
“Our numbers flip-flopped in terms of the pressures and sacks and things like that. We saw the productivity of our passing game just really moved. We saw (receiver) Doug (Baldwin) come to light and all of Russell’s numbers were crazy. That’s all part of that transition. We’ve moved through that. But we still have issues. We have issues now going into free agency this year (referring to Okung and J.R. Sweezy being free agents) so we’ll see how that all winds up. But hopefully we’ve made some strides that we can start at a better level next season and not have to take so long to get going.”
Carroll also said at the combine that he didn’t think Okung representing himself would hinder the team’s attempts to keep him.
“It poses a challenge for him to do a nice job with this process,’’ Carroll said. “It’s a very complicated process. He’s very close to us. We care a tremendous amount about him. We’re hoping it all works out all right. Of course we’d love him back, just like our other guys.’’