ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Russell Okung, who represented himself in his contract talks with the Denver Broncos, said Thursday he believes Russell Okung the agent did just fine with the deal and that as a result the Broncos' starting left tackle in waiting is right where he wanted to be.
“Yes, the best deal in the best place,’’ Okung said after Thursday’s practice.
Okung, who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, took plenty of criticism after he signed a contract with the Broncos that could be for as long as five years and worth as much as $53 million. However, the deal included no immediate up-front guaranteed money, though he has a $2 million roster bonus he would get in Week 1 of the regular season as well as a $1 million workout bonus to go with a $2 million base salary in 2016.
To engage the final four years of the deal the Broncos would have to pay a $1 million option bonus on the first day of the new league year next March. That would trigger the final four years of the contract and guarantee more than $20 million.
If the Broncos pick up the option, Okung’s 2017 ($2 million) and 2018 ($9.5 million) base salaries would be guaranteed as would a $9.5 million roster bonus in 2017.
“I would definitely say that it was a decision I made on my own,’’ Okung said Thursday. “I was fully aware of what was going to happen and especially the ramifications that I would kind of run into. A lot of it is perception from you guys, as well as a lot of click-bait assumptions. I think for me, I got the best deal I can. I’m so happy to be here and very grateful that the front office would believe in me enough as well as give me the opportunity.’’
Okung, who is expected to be the starting left tackle by training camp and one of the reasons Ty Sambrailo has been moved to guard, said the criticism that followed his contract didn’t impact him much. He still believes the numbers bear out the confidence he has in the deal he signed.
“I would say if I listened to the media, I wouldn’t be where I am today,’’ Okung said. “I definitely can’t really take into account a lot of publications that don’t necessarily look to understand all of the facts. I think if anybody wants to ask me a question or understand it better, understand the facts first. Real facts -- not assumptions. All that information is available to people and for people to see.’’
Asked Thursday if the Broncos having the decision about the option bonus means Okung has essentially bet on himself for a year, he said, “Yes, and I’m fine with that. That’s kind of why I signed the deal. I didn’t mind the deal. That’s why I wanted to sign it.’’