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Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.



August 1, 2010 at 1:36 PM

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What's the hold-up with Russell Okung?

Posted by Danny O'Neil

After one day of training camp, there's one rookie left unsigned: left tackle Russell Okung.

So how long is it going to take, especially consider a report from ProFootballTalk.com that the sides are not close.

OK. Deep breath everyone. It's Day 2. It's not unusual for first-round picks to miss a few days. In fact, signing after missing two days of training camp would be a quick agreement when you look at it in terms of recent Seahawk history.

YearPlayer (pick)Days missed
2010Russell Okung (No. 6)
LT, Oklahoma State
2
2010Earl Thomas (No. 14)
S, Texas
1
2009Aaron Curry (No. 4)
LB, Wake Forest
8
2008Lawrence Jackson (No. 28)
DE, USC
0
2007No pick--
2006Kelly Jennings (No. 31)
CB, Miami
2
2005Chris Spencer (No. 26)
C, Ole Miss
5
2004Marcus Tubbs (No. 23)
DT, Texas
8
2003Marcus Trufant (No. 11)
CB, Washington State
0
2002Jerramy Stevens (No. 28)
TE, Washington
4
2001Koren Robinson (No. 9)
WR, North Carolina St.
0
2001Steve Hutchinson (No. 17)
G, Michigan
0
2000Shaun Alexander (No. 19)
RB, Alabama
0
2000Chris McIntosh (No. 22)
T, Wisconsin
22
1999Lamar King (No. 22)
DE, Saginaw Valley State
11

But there is room for some questions about why a deal isn't done. After all, the three players chosen in front of Okung are signed: Gerald McCoy with Tampa Bay, Trent Williams with Washington and Eric Berry with Kansas City.

The two players behind Okung are signed, too. Cornerback Joe Haden with Cleveland, linebacker Rolando McClain with Oakland.

There is no rookie salary scale, but those deals generally provide parameters for an agreement.

But there is something worth noting, which is that the deals signed by Williams and Berry are for six years while the deals signed by Haden and McClain are for five.

It's possible that's a sticking point.

A year ago, Seattle negotiated a six-year agreement with Aaron Curry, which was an exception. Only Matthew Stafford and Michael Crabtree -- who signed much later -- were the only other rookies to sign six-year deals.

For the player, it is a significant sacrifice because of the timing. It is the difference between potentially becoming an unrestricted free agent at the age of 28 -- as Curry would have been with a five-year deal -- and the age of 29. That extra year might not seem like much, but remember this is a league where the average career lasts about four years, and one season could significantly impact the player's bargaining position for a second contract.

Another possible sticking point? Look back at last year's No. 6 pick. That was tackle Andre Smith from Alabama. He did not sign until Aug. 30, missing the team's first three exhibition games. The reason for the holdup? The Bengals would not offer more money than Darrius Heyward-Bey received from Oakland as the No. 7 pick in the draft.

Smith ended up signing a four-year contract, which included a Bengals option to add two additional years to the contract for more guaranteed money after the 2010 season.


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