The conclusions on the contract former Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung negotiated for himself with the Denver Broncos were, at best, mixed.
The contract signed by now-former Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung figures to resonate for years due to Okung’s decision to represent himself, something few players in the history of the NFL have done.
As the final details arrived on ‘Friday, however, the conclusions on the deal Okung worked out for himself were decidedly mixed.
If Okung plays out the contract and gets all the money due him, it would be a five-year deal worth as much as $56 million. Conversely, the Broncos could conceivably release him before he ever makes a dime — there was no money guaranteed upon signing. Denver has an option it can exercise after the 2016 season for four years and $48 million. For the 2016 season, however, the most Okung can make is $8 million with none of it guaranteed. And if Denver does not pick up the option after the 2016 season then Okung could be a free agent again a year from now.
That Okung worked out a deal that seems to carry so much potential reward — but even more risk and basically zero guarantees — has been the subject of much discussion in the NFL world the last few days. Here’s a sampling of some of what was said:
- Jason Fitzgerald of Overthecap.com offers up a detailed assessment of the deal and concludes: “Would he have gotten a better deal if he had an agent? I think slightly better. He would have signed sooner and generally the quicker you sign the better off you are. There might be more value in it for him if the option was picked up. I think the breakeven for Okung is probably to make sure that over the next two years he earns between $17 and $18 million. That’s the Monroe level which is where he should have landed on a long term deal this year. Hes taking more risk to get there but a great season and he’ll do pretty well. It’s not a great deal but plenty of agents do contracts that aren’t great and we shouldn’t forget that.”
- USA Today’s Tom Pelissero writes: “Okung, 28, is hoping the gamble will pay off if he returns well from his injury, hits all the incentives to earn $8 million this year and then either gets the option picked up or lands a comparable deal that puts him among the NFL’s highest-paid offensive linemen.”
- ESPN.com says that the Broncos signed Okung after not being able to agree to a new deal with Ryan Clady and writes: “The Broncos would gain $8.9 million worth of salary-cap room if Clady was released, to go with $1.2 million worth of “dead money” charged for the remaining two years on Clady’s deal. Clady is the longest-tenured Broncos player, having been the team’s first-round pick in 2008, Mike Shanahan’s final season as coach.”
- SBNation’s James Brady wonders if Okung would have done better with an experienced agent and writes: “Okung could theoretically participate in 89 percent of the team’s offseason workout program, suffer a setback with one of his multiple career injuries and be released with nothing to show for it. This is a ridiculously team-friendly deal and it’s not likely we’ll see other players looking at it as a reason to jump into the “be your own agent” pool anytime soon.”
- Yahoo.com takes a guess at how much Okung might have saved himself writing: “Who’s unwise now? Okung saved 3 percent — up to $1.8 million — by negotiating his own contract, and he did so with a Super Bowl contender (so long as they find somebody of substance to play quarterback). The addition of Okung may signal the end for oft-injured Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady, himself a Pro Bowler who is owed $19.5 million over the next two seasons. John Elway will likely shop Clady around the league with Okung now in place, and I hear Seattle’s in the market for a left tackle to protect Russell Wilson.’
- ProFootballTalk.com wasn’t as complimentary writing: “Russell Okung the agent did a great job of persuading reporters that he did a great deal for Russell Okung the client. Based on the true details, however, Russell Okung the client may at some point have a few pointed questions for Russell Okung the agent.”
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