Maybe the best player left in free agency and certainly the biggest offensive line name, Russell Okung is completing his round of visits with interested teams, having his old Seattle Seahawks hoping to re-sign him, while the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants, Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers are also in the mix.
The 28 year old left tackle, a one-time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl champion with the Seahawks and All-American (twice) with Oklahoma State stands out not just because of his ability, but because he’s working without an agent, trying to secure the best deal for himself. It didn’t allow him to talk with teams in the legal tampering period due to the NFL not allowing self-represented players to have any contact with teams, but he’s doing his rounds now, hoping to land himself a deal that sits well with his position, the highest paid in the NFL on average except for quarterbacks.
So what’s the order? Sunday is for a visit with the Steelers. He’s already been in touch with the 49ers and visited with both the Giants and the Lions. The Seahawks are obviously in contact, and it’ll be interesting how their internal knowledge of the injury that kept him from playing in their playoff loss to the Panthers will define their willingness to spend on him. Okung had surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder, and should be at 100% by the beginning of summer.
The Giants have cut two offensive tackles this offseason and still have $20.8 million to spend under the cap. The Lions have around that much to spend, and although they have Ereck Flowers on his fifth-year option, they are looking to make an upgrade at the position, although it obviously depends on how much Okung thinks he should get paid. The 49ers are a mess up front in front of whoever will be their quarterback and have over $59 million to spend, but a problem attracting big name free agents. The Steelers don’t have much available money (only $3.3 million right now) but are working on changing deals, while not being known for making big free agency signings.
Okung was a first round pick coming after graduating from Oklahoma State in 2010. He has played in 72 games over six seasons for the Seahawks, starting in all of them. He has never played all 16 games in a season, and has 27 appearances over the last two years. His cap hit was just $7.28 million in 2015, coming down from $11.24 million in 2014.