When Russell Okung suffered a dislocated shoulder in the playoff loss to Carolina, it seemed a sad but fitting end to his injury-filled Seahawks career.
But let’s not write him off yet.
In fact, don’t be surprised if Okung comes back to Seattle in 2016 — on a one-year, prove-it deal.
His email to NFL teams explaining that shoulder surgery will sideline him until June proves that his value — already less than he thinks it is — took a big hit with his latest injury.
Okung surely wants to get $10 million a year (or more), but would any club be willing to pay him in that elite stratosphere even if he were healthy? And will any team want to pay him that as he comes off yet another injury, knowing this is a player who has never played a full season?
Usually, free agents coming off injuries end up on the secondary market and have to settle for one-year deals — e.g., Ahtyba Rubin last year.
So, unless some team sees long-term value in the 27-year-old Okung and is willing to pay him north of $9 million a year, he might end up in the same situation.
And, if that happens, it is quite possible he ends up returning — begrudgingly — to Seattle on a one-year deal for about the same rate he was making under his inflated rookie contract ($8 million).
The Seahawks undoubtedly will not be interested in paying their part-time, part-good left tackle more than they have over the last six years. But, if Okung does not get the market he wants, it might behoove both sides to stay together for another year.