Russell Okung

There’s a very interesting development with Russell Okung signing a contract with very little guaranteed money as he joins the Denver Broncos, and to a lesser degree Kelvin Beachum doing the same with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both teams take very little risk, while the players could end up with nothing.

This isn’t just about Okung, who played with the Seattle Seahawks until now, doing this without an agent, although an agent might have advised against signing the five year deal which could be worth up to $50 million, but has a lot of hurdles on the way to being fully materialized. Both Okung and Beachum are coming off injuries, and being late to the party in terms of tackles being signed made it more difficult for them to have all the leverage in their negotiations.

The Okung deal looks like this:

2016:

  • $1MM workout bonus
  • $2MM base salary
  • $2MM roster bonus if he spends one game on the 53-man roster
  • Up to $3MM in playing-time incentives ($1.5MM for 80% of snaps, $3MM for 90% of snaps)

$1MM option that must be exercised before the first day of the 2017 league year. If exercised:

2017:

  • $2MM base salary (fully guaranteed)
  • $8MM roster bonus (fully guaranteed)
  • Up to $1.5MM in per-game roster bonuses

2018:

  • $9.5MM base salary (fully guaranteed)
  • Up to $1.5MM in per-game roster bonuses

2019:

  • $8.5MM base salary
  • $2MM roster bonus
  • Up to $1.5MM in per-game roster bonuses

2020:

  • $9MM base salary
  • $2MM roster bonus
  • Up to $1.5MM in per-game roster bonuses

He’s still not full back from his shoulder operation, but both he and the Broncos are betting on it happening very soon. Remember, the 1 million workout bonus doesn’t mean Okung has to be healthy enough to actually lift weights or any other activities the team is holding. It just means he needs to be making progress and show up. The Broncos only need to be happy enough with the way he’s coming back. If there’s some sort of setback, they might cut him even before that $1 million kicks in. In short, Okung isn’t just betting on himself and his ability. He’s betting on staying healthy.

The details of the Beachum deal haven’t been revealed to this extent, but he might end up making $45 million over five years. Again, very little guaranteed money. He basically signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Jaguars, followed by a four-year, $40 million option.

Okung’s best case scenario for 2016 is making $8 million, which then puts a lot of pressure on the Broncos: Guarantee him almost $20 million for the next two seasons or go on another search for a left tackle. If he has a good season, it won’t matter: He’ll be able to land a good deal with a different team, even if the Broncos won’t like committing so much.

Image: Source / Hat Tip