BY SPNW Staff 02:32PM 03/17/2016

Seahawks’ Okung bolts for deal in Denver

Left tackle Russell Okung completed his whirlwind free-agency tour of the NFL Thursday by agreeing to a five-year, $53 million contract with the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos.

LT Russell Okung bolted to Denver Thursday. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Starting LT Russell Okung completed his free-agent odyssey around the NFL Thursday by agreeing to a reported, five-year, $53 million contract with the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. Okung, Seattle’s first-round pick in 2010, had also been courted by the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers.

Multiple reports say that Okung’s first year is guaranteed at $5 million, with the remaining four years a the club’s option.

Okung is the second offensive line starter to exit Seattle during the current free-agency period, following RG J.R. Sweezy, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers March 9. Okung’s departure also means Seattle’s entire starting offensive line from Super Bowl XL (Okung, Sweezy, C Max Unger, LG James Carpenter and RT Breno Giacomini), a 43-8 thumping of the Broncos, is gone.

The Seahawks entered free agency with seven starters plus punter Jon Ryan up for grabs and have lost four. In addition to Okung and Sweezy, LB Bruce Irvin (5 years, $37 million) signed with Oakland and DT Brandon Mebane (3 years, $13.5 million) signed with San Diego. Seattle retained WR Jermaine Kearse, DT Ahytba Rubin, CB Jeremy Lane and Ryan.

The Seahawks selected Okung with the sixth pick in the 2010 draft out of Texas A&M. He made 72 appearances, all starts, and earned his only Pro Bowl invitation following the 2012 season.

Coming off shoulder surgery, Okung represented himself in negotiations (he consulted with NFL Players Association executive Mark Levin) and had sought a contract worth $12-13 million annually. Criticized for serving as his own agent, Okung explained his reasoning in a July, 2015 post for The Players Tribune, saying:

 I know my worth. I can look at the market and go directly to a team without an agent and tell that team my worth. And I can do so with confidence because I’ve done my research, I’ve educated myself and I’ve questioned the answers I’ve been given. And when it comes to reviewing the details of my next deal, I’ll hire an expert — a lawyer or a sports attorney who understands the dynamic of football contracts — to read the paperwork. I’ll negotiate a one-time flat fee that isn’t dependent on the size of my salary.”\

Also, according to, Okung saved three percent, or $1.8 million, by representing himself, minus the flat fee.

Okung’s first contract with the Seahawks, a six-year deal worth a maximum of $48 million, guaranteed him $29 million.


Unrestricted free agents retained

Date Player Pos. ’15 Salary New Deal
Mar 9 Ahtyba Rubin DL 2.6M 3 years, $12M, $5.5M guaranteed
Mar 9 Jeremy Lane CB 660K 4 years, $23M, $11M guaranteed
Mar 10 Jermaine Kearse WR 2.3M 3 years, $13.5M, $6.3M guaranteed
Mar 11 Jon Ryan P 1.5M 4 years, $10M (1M annual raise)
Mar 16 Christine Michael RB 208K Contract details not yet disclosed

Unrestricted free agents lost

Date Player Pos New Team New Deal
Mar 9 Bruce Irvin LB Raiders 5 years, $37M, $19M guaranteed
Mar 9 Brandon Mebane DT Chargers 3 years, $13.5M, $5.5M guaranteed
Mar 9 J.R. Sweezy G Bucs 5 years, $32.5M
Mar 9 Ricardo Lockette WR None Seahawks declined to offer, now FA
Mar 16 Russell Okung LT Broncos 5 years, $53 million

Remaining unrestricted free agents

Date Player Pos. ’15 Salary 2015 Season/Skinny
—– Tarvaris Jackson QB 1.3M 33 in April, mopped up in 4 games
—– Michael Morgan LB 750K 14 games with 2 starts
—– Will Tukuafu FB 745K 14 games, 1 touchdown
—– Demarcus Dobbs DE 745K 11 games, no starts
—– Fred Jackson RB 870K 16 games, 2 rec. TDs

Unrestricted free agents added

Date Player Pos. ’15 Team New Deal
Mar 14 Bradley Sowell OL Cardinals 1 year for $1.5M
Mar 14 Sealver Siliga DL Patriots 1 year for $1.4M
Mar 15 J’Marcus Webb OL Raiders 2 years, $6.25M, $2.5M guaranteed

Restricted free agents

Date Player Pos. ’15 Salary New Deal
Mar 7 Patrick Lewis C 585K Tendered $1.67M
Mar 7 Cooper Helfet TE 510K Tendered $600,000
Mar 9 Alvin Bailey G 585K Received no offer; signed with Clev.
Mar 9 Derrick Coleman FB 585K Seahawks declined to offer, now FA
—– Nick Moody LB 413K 3 games, no starts

Exclusive rights free agents

Date Player Pos. ’15 Salary Skinny
Mar 6 Eric Pinkins LB 180K Tendered; agreed March 15
Mar 7 DeShawn Shead DB 660K Tendered $760,000
Mar 8 Marcus Burley CB 510K Tendered $600,000
Mar 8 A.J. Francis DT 6.6K Tendered $600,000, signed
Mar 8 Jesse Williams DT 393K Waived; never played
Mar 9 Steven Terrell CB 600K Tendered
Mar 9 Moh. Seisay CB 333K Tendered

Additional Transactions

March 15: Released long snapper Clint Gresham, who had been with the Seahawks since 2010. Gresham had signed a three-year, $2.7 million contract extension a year ago and his release will save $660,000 against the cap in 2016.


  • jafabian

    Okung took criticism from some members of the press on being his own agent but it looks like he did more than okay for himself. Hope he does well for himself in Denver.

    • art thiel

      I don’t think Okung will see the big money of a second year

      • jafabian

        IMO, the Hawks would have given him a similar deal but only go max 3 years. So assuming he plays at at least a Pro-Bowl alternate level he did okay.

  • Rj Smith

    Holy crap Okung & Sweezy got huge deals….. OL are turning in starting pitchers apparently. Looks like the Hawks will need to rebuild the line via the draft. As it stands, they continue to lose talent daily & not acquire any back.

    • art thiel

      Okung’s guarantee is one year at $5M. Not huge. Not impressed with the FA hires.

  • Bruce McDermott

    This deal is NOT huge. It is only potentially huge. It is one year for $5-8 mil, and then a TEAM option for 4 more years and $40-something million with 21 guaranteed.

    So…in the first year, Okung could get hurt again, and Denver could cut the cord. Or, Okung could play poorly, or not well enough in the Bronco’s opinion to justify exercising the option…and Denver could cut the cord. Only if he stays healthy AND plays well enough in the Bronco’s opinion to justify the following 4 years in this “contract” does Okung make the big dough. It is therefore very misleading simply to report that he “signed a deal for $53 over 5 years, or $10.6 million per year.”

    We’ll see in a year. We won’t see now.

    • Rj Smith

      Yeah I finally read the actual terms. $5mil doesn’t sound excessive, even with his injury history. Given the poor OL play last season & the 2 absolute scrubs they’ve signed so far, this would’ve been a good deal. He’ll be lucky to get even 2 of those team options.

      • art thiel

        I doubt he’ll get to the first option.

    • art thiel

      Ediits were made. The risk is heavily on the side of Okung. If the Seahawks didn’t want to pay him the equivalent in his first year, they must have known something about the likely expiration date of his career.

  • Kevin Lynch

    I thought it was a good move for the Hawks to let him test the market. He just lost too many games to injury to be paid what he was looking for. And the cap room is drying up. But it’s a significant risk in having few veterans on the O-line. Russell is very mobile, unlike what Denver had with Peyton. But there’s a limit on the hits he can take and they can’t afford to lose him. Still, Wilson’s contract size created a karmic situation as the cap’s ceiling is a hard reality. What’s going to happen with Bennett and Chancellor?

    • art thiel

      Bosses were anticipating losing Okung and Sweezy, but it doesn’t mean they like it. The loss of experience is large. They still have options, including trades, a vet lineman.

      I don’t think the Seahawks will budge on improving contracts for MM and KC. But more holdouts could push the trade button.

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  • rosetta_stoned

    So Denver now gets to deal with an oft-injured lineman who’s guaranteed at least one false start every game? Good on them, I guess.

  • MrPrimeMinister

    So, are they re-loading, or –dare I say it, the other dreaded R word– Rebuilding?