Russell Okung Announces He Will Represent Himself, Won't Use Agent

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2016

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 20: Offensive lineman Russell Okung #76 pass blocks during the first half of a football game against the Cleveland Browns at CenturyLink Field on December 20, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won the game 30-13. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Soon-to-be unrestricted free agent left tackle Russell Okung announced Friday that he will represent himself in negotiations this spring in lieu of hiring an agent to do so. 

The six-year veteran announced his decision with a video and lengthy explanation on Facebook: 

Okung admitted he could return to Seattle next season, but he indicated that he fully intends to test the open market when free agency starts on March 9.  

"It's very possible that I could stay here," Okung told ESPN.com's Sheil Kapadia. "But I know my value, and I'm not going to settle for anything less than that. If it works out, great. And if it doesn't, that's great as well."

Okung made it known he was going to represent himself in free agency last July in a post at the Players' Tribune, saying he made the decision to "free" his agent after realizing he didn't need to shell out commission for his hard work: 

Did a 2.5 percent agent fee really make sense in relation to the amount of work that was being done? Did it make sense in relation to the amount — and caliber — of those commercials, endorsements, show deals, suits and parties that were or weren’t delivered? Did I, entering the final year of my rookie contract and what I believe will be the prime of my career, really need someone else to tell me my worth and not only "find me a deal," but take a cut of it?

Now Okung will enter the marketplace as a fascinating case study. Beyond the simple fact that Okung is negotiating his own deal—which could prove to be risky, per NFL Network's Rand Getlinhe's been rather banged up since entering the league as the sixth pick in the 2010 draft. 

Rand Getlin @RandGetlin

There's a plausible argument that rookies can do without agents (tho I think it'd be a mistake), but for large free agent deals? Not wise.

The burly left tackle appeared in 10 games as a rookie before playing in 12 and 15 games, respectively, during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The following year, Okung missed half the regular season as he recovered from a torn ligament in his toe. 

Now Okung is coming off of shoulder surgery that was accompanied by an estimated four-month recovery period, per Kapadia

However, the medical setbacks don't appear to have fazed Okung—who knows blindside protectors are always in high demand. 

"I’m well-studied," Okung added, on 710 ESPN Seattle's Danny, Dave and Moore show (h/t Kapadia). "I’ve prepared. And I think the value speaks for itself. I think there’s a necessity in my position league-wide, and we’ll just have to see where it goes. Really excited about the opportunity though."

When healthy, Okung has been one of the league's most physically imposing forces at left tackle. But with a checkered injury history, it will be fascinating to see how prospective buyers appraise his value. 


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.