Russell Okung was ripped by everyone in NFL circles last year for the deal he did with the Denver Broncos — a contract that ended up being for one year and $5 million and will put him back on the free-agent market in a couple of weeks.
But the Seahawks had to love the deal, which netted them a third-round comp pick Friday. The Seahawks ended up with two third-round picks — the other for losing Bruce Irvin. That doubled the number of thirds they had received in the two decades of the compensatory program.
The Hawks had been projected to receive a third and fifth, with J.R. Sweezy’s deal ($6.5 million a year with Tampa Bay) netting the fifth. But it turned out that the NFL counted Okung’s full contract, including the option the Broncos just declined, for an average of $10.6 million that made Okung’s deal No. 6 among value in the 2016-17 comp equation.
The Hawks have seven picks for now, with five of the top 106. Their overall picks are 26, 58 (second round), 90 (third), 102 (third), 106 (third), 210 (sixth) and 226 (seventh, via Carolina).
They traded their fourth in last year’s draft to get Quinton Jefferson. They lost a fifth for too many offseason practice violations, acquired a seventh from Carolina in 2015 for Kevin Norwood and sent their own seventh to Oakland for Dewey McDonald before last season.
The Hawks also could have had a fifth- or sixth-round comp if they had not signed J’Marcus Webb, whom they cut in November.
This will be just the third time the Seahawks have ever had a third-round comp pick. In 2005, they pulled a third-rounder for losing Shawn Springs that they used on Leroy Hill. Last year, they drafted Rees Odhiambo after losing Byron Maxwell in 2015.
The Seahawks had just four total comp picks in John Schneider’s first five drafts, but two straight Super Bowl appearances created a big market for Seattle free agents, and they now have received nine comp picks in the last three drafts — six in the fifth round or higher.
Last year, in addition to the third for losing Maxwell, they added a fifth-rounder for losing James Carpenter and a sixth for Malcolm Smith.
In 2015, they had four comp picks, thanks to losing Golden Tate (netted a fourth-round pick), Brandon Browner (fifth), Breno Giacomini (sixth), Walter Thurmond (sixth) and Clinton McDonald (did not count because they were already at the four-pick limit).
Next year is not likely to be as fruitful. The Seahawks don’t have many free agents who are likely to qualify for the comp formula — Steven Hauschka and Luke Willson are the two most likely. If the team adds a couple of UFAs (street free agents such as Walsh and Perrish Cox do not count), a comp pick in 2018 would be unlikely.
The Hawks reportedly are open to a possible Okung reunion, a move that would be mean they basically rented him to Denver for a third-round pick last year.
RULES FOR COMP PICKS
This compensatory system has been in place since 1994, the year after unrestricted free agency was implemented.
The basic rules for comp picks are such:
**A team losing more or better qualifying free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive extra draft picks.
**Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula that uses salary, playing time and postseason honors. Only unrestricted free agents whose contracts naturally expire or void (no forced voids) are eligible under the formula, and those who sign one-year deals for low minimums generally do not count.
**A team receives picks that equal the net loss of compensatory free agents, with a maximum of four. The highest round in which a team can acquire a comp pick is the third (although a 10-year vet can net no more than a fifth).
**The league hands out 32 extra choices each year; if there are not 32 qualifying losses, the teams at the top of the draft receive the extra seventh-round picks until 32 choices have been allocated.
**Comp picks can be traded.