Seattle Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung will have surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder suffered in the divisional playoff loss against Carolina as he gets set to enter free agency.
Russell Okung, the Seahawks’ starting left tackle since being selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, will have surgery soon to repair a dislocated left shoulder suffered in the divisional playoff loss at Carolina, according to a report.
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com tweeted that Okung — an unrestricted free agent who plans to represent himself — had informed all 32 NFL teams of the news via e-mail as he begins to prepare for free agency.
Okung said he will be recovered by June and hopes to begin talking with other teams as soon as possible, according to the report. Okung remains a Seahawk until his contract expires March 9, and he cannot sign with another team until then (though he could re-up with Seattle before then). Pro Football Talk reported that Okung’s e-mail was within the NFL rules, but other teams would violate the league’s anti-tampering rules if they communicate with him.
Okung was injured when he tried to block Carolina’s Mario Addison in the second quarter. Addison got past Okung and pressured Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, forcing an interception in the second quarter that led to a field goal and a 24-0 Carolina lead. Okung, who turned 27 in October, will have the surgery conducted by Dr. Robin West, according to La Canfora’s reports.
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Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the day after the loss to Carolina that he was “really sick to see him get hurt in that game, and it’s a very unusual accident that happened. He’s been a leader, he’s been stellar for years. Really consistent. He’s been a great kid.”
The injury obviously will factor into the decisions of teams when deciding what to offer Okung.
Former NFL agent Joel Corry, who writes about salary-cap issues for CBSSports.com, said this week that Okung might not find the kind of market he anticipates.
“He didn’t have the type of year you would want to do that (represent himself),” Corry said. “He may have an evaluation problem and too inflated of a self-worth, and that could hurt him.”
Corry said he thinks Okung is likely basing his value in part on what Washington’s Trent Williams received last year — a five-year, $66 million contract, an average of over $13 million a season. Williams was drafted two picks ahead of Okung in 2010.
“He (Okung) probably views him (Williams) as his peer, and he’s not,” Corry said. Williams has been named to four Pro Bowls and this season was a second-team All-Pro selection.
Okung played 13 of 16 regular-season games this season, missing the Dallas game because of an ankle injury and then the last two because of a calf injury. He has yet to play all 16 games in a season, missing 22 games during his six years in the NFL.
In recent years the Seahawks mostly have declined to pay big money to free-agent offensive linemen. They led right tackle Breno Giacomini sign with the Jets after the 2013 season, and they let guard James Carpenter sign with the Jets in 2014. Okung is not expected to return to the Seahawks.
They figure to address the offensive line in the draft and possibly free agency. But one option if Okung moves on is to flip Garry Gilliam from right tackle to left tackle and move Justin Britt back to right tackle.
Okung said the day after the Carolina game that even if he leaves the Seahawks “Seattle is always going to be a home to me. It’s been amazing what the community has been able to do for me and the people. It’ll always be a place I’ll come back to.”
As for assessing his own market value, Okung said: “I’ve got a lot of different scenarios, looking at those other guys have been through. Mine will be my own and very particular to my situation. I’m excited about it. … No big surprises. I’ve been very intentional about my research and very intentional about understanding my situation, looking at it from a factual standpoint. Once I’ve been able do that, it’s been pretty smooth. I’ve been willing to study, so I think I’ll be fine.”
Okung also said the day after the season he had not wavered on his decision to represent himself, something he had announced last summer.
“The thought was that I’m capable,” he said. “I also have the appropriate people that can consult me to do what I need to do. Once I got past that, I realized that the sky is the limit. Hopefully I can set the standard for other guys as well.”