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Seahawks OT Okung will negotiate next contract himself


The Sports Xchange

Seattle Seahawks left tackle Russell Okung, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, says he will represent himself in contract negotiations.

“Before I became a free agent, I decided to free my agent,” Okung wrote for The Players’ Tribune on Monday, claiming he can get the same deal representing himself as he could via an agent, without having to pay the typical 3 percent commission.

“I’m betting on myself,” he wrote. “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.”

Okung has made about $8 million a year on his rookie deal — even as he has been limited to playing in 59 of 80 games (73.8 percent) due to injuries. He played most of last season with a torn labrum in his shoulder and suffered a bruised lung in December that caused him to miss a game.

The five highest-paid tackles all make more than $10 million per year, which could be Okung’s target in his next deal.

Okung is one of several key Seahawks entering contract years. The team has been negotiating with quarterback Russell Wilson and linebacker Bobby Wagner on long-term extensions. Linebacker Bruce Irvin and right guard J.R. Sweezy also are scheduled to become free agents in 2016.

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