According a series of tweets from CBSSports.com, Seahawks LT Russell Okung, who will become an unrestricted free agent March 9, will soon undergo surgery on his left shoulder. Okung dislocated it during Seattle’s 31-24 divisional playoff loss to the Carolina Panthers 10 days ago.
Okung said specialist Dr. Robin West will perform surgery and expects to be back in June. Expressed desire to talk to interested teams ASAP
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 27, 2016
Okung sent an e-mail to all 32 teams announcing the surgery, explaining that the recovery time is five months. Okung said he expects to be healthy by June. The surgery will be performed by specialist Dr. Robin West.
Okung, 28, Seattle’s first-round draft pick in 2010 (sixth overall) out of Oklahoma State, will represent himself in free agency. If a team contacts Okung before March 9 by responding to his e-mail, it could be construed as tampering because he is still under contract to the Seahawks.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk said Okung already erred as agent. In a post Wednesday afternoon, he quoted NFL policy:
“If a club is contacted by a player (or his representative) who is under contract to or whose negotiating rights are held by another club, and such player had not been given permission to deal with other clubs, or such player is not in a permissible negotiating period under the terms of an operative collective bargaining agreement, then the contacted club is prohibited from talking or otherwise dealing with the player or his representative, and the contacted club must immediately report such contact to the owner or operating head of the club which holds the player’s rights.”
Asked about Okung after Seattle’s season-ending 31-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers, coach Pete Carroll praised the six-year veteran, who played in 13 games this past season, but has suffered numerous injuries since he became a Pro Bowler in 2012.
“He’s been a great factor in our team,” Carroll said. “Really sick to see him get hurt in that game. It was a very unusual accident that happened. But he’s been a leader, and stellar for years. Really consistent. Been a great kid.”
Okung has started 72 games, but was hurt in the second quarter attempting to block Panthers DE Mario Addison, who forced QB Russell Wilson into an interception that led to a Carolina field goal and a 24-0 lead.
He and RG J.R. Sweezy are unrestricted free agents in a unit that under-performed in a slow seasonal start. The injury is a blow to Okung’s hopes to land a top-shelf deal. The Seahawks could re-sign him before he goes into the market, but that has been considered unlikely, even though he may be the best left tackle available.
The Seahawks under Carroll have drafted two offensive linemen in the first round, Okung and LG James Carpenter, the latter signing a free agent deal with the Jets a year ago, and used a second-round choice on LG Justin Britt.
There’s a possibility that the Seahawks could fill Okung’s spot with Garry Gilliam, who finished his first full year as a starter at right tackle, then move Britt back to right tackle, where he played with mediocre results his rookie year.
A Pro Bowl shunning
Safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are skipping participation in the Pro Bowl in Honolulu Sunday, ostensibly to rest. Chancellor had a tailbone injury late in the season.
The Seahawks had seven named to the event, tying a team record set in 1984 and 2005. Also included were DE Michael Bennett, return specialist Tyler Lockett, CB Richard Sherman, LB Bobby Wagner and QB Russell Wilson.
Arizona and New England also had seven named. Carolina led with 10, all of whom will be otherwise occupied. No other Seahawks have been named as replacements.
Unrestricted free agents
|Player||Pos.||Age||’15 Cap Hit||2015 Season|
|Russell Okung||LT||28||7,280,000||Started 13 games, 2 more in playoffs|
|Brandon Mebane||DT||31||5,700,000||Made 15 starts, 24 tackles, 1.5 sacks|
|Bruce Irvin||OLB||26||2,895,542||2012 No. 1 pick 15 starts, 5.5 sacks|
|Ahtyba Rubin||DT||29||2,600,000||16 starts, 36 tackles, 2 sacks|
|Jermaine Kearse||WR||25||2,356,000||49 catches, 5 TDs, 2 more in playoffs|
|J.R. Sweezy||G||26||1,556,212||Started 15 games, 2 more in playoffs|
|Tarvaris Jackson||QB||32||1,500,000||Mopped up in four games, all big wins|
|Jon Ryan||P||34||1,500,000||47.3 yards per punt with a long of 73|
|Michael Morgan||OLB||28||1,000,000||Played in 14 games with 2 starts|
|Jeremy Lane||CB||25||691,279||Played in six games after injury return|
|Will Tukuafu||FB||32||665,000||Played in 14 games, scored 1 TD|
|Demarcus Dobbs||DE||28||665,000||Reserve played in 11 games, no starts|
|Ricardo Lockette||WR||29||660,000||Season-ending neck injury at Dallas|
|Deshawn Shead||FS||27||660,000||Started 5 of final six games, 1 INT|
|Fred Jackson||RB||34||615,000||Played in 16 games, 2 receiving TDs|