Things are moving in the offensive tackle section of the free agency market, leaving Russell Okung with one less team he can sign for, with his option list down to three: Return to the Seattle Seahawks or try something new with either the New York Giants or the Detroit Lions.
It doesn’t matter how good you are. Waiting too much often costs you money when you’re not in the first wave of players everyone is going after. Okung is taking his time, but the Pittsburgh Steelers signing Ryan Harris means that Okung doesn’t just need to hurry with his decision, but also think about settling for a shorter deal than he initially wanted. Harris signed a two-year, $3.9 million deal with the Steelers and while Okung has been rated much higher than him on all the boards and should be getting more, once the money starts running out for teams under the cap, it’s more difficult get them to fork it over.
Okung also isn’t the only offensive tackle out there. Andre Smith is looking for a team, and former Giants player Geoff Schwartz is in the same position. Okung is the better player and also more expensive, and for now making it more difficult to see where this process ends for him. He was on a $48.5 million over six years contract when he came out of college as a first round pick by the Seahawks, something rookies no longer get when they’re taken early in the draft.
Okung played 72 times for the Seahawks since being drafted in the regular season and 12 more times in the playoffs, including their two Super Bowl runs. He has 27 appearances over the last two years, but the self represented left tackle doesn’t have a single 16-game season since entering the league. At 28, he’s looking for more than a short (one or two years) deal, but carrying on and lingering a bit too long making his decision and maybe hoping someone else joins the list of suitors could backfire.
In terms of ability to pay, the Seahawks have just $8.6 million in cap space right now, while both the Giants and the Lions are over $18 million, giving them an advantage when it comes to their chances of landing Okung.