Seahawks' Russell Okung ready to take on free agency as his own agent

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin was asked earlier this week what he's looking for in a new contract.

"I don't know. I'm not an agent," Irvin said. "Let me get Russell Okung and maybe ask him or something."

Irvin and Okung are two of seven Seahawks starters scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this offseason. Irvin is represented by one of the most prominent agents in football, Joel Segal. Okung, meanwhile, has decided to represent himself.

Back in July, he explained in a column for The Players' Tribune why he's opting to go into free agency without an agent. This week, Okung talked about where he is in the process.

"The thought was that I am capable, as well as I have the appropriate people that can consult me to do what I need to do," Okung said. "So I think once I got past that, I realized [the] sky’s the limit, and it’s something that hopefully I can set the standard for other guys, too, as well.

"No big surprises [so far]. I’ve been very intentional about my research. I’ve been very intentional about understanding my situation and looking at it from a factual standpoint. So once I’ve been able to do that, it’s been pretty smooth. ... Because I’ve been willing to study, I think I’ll be fine."

Pete Carroll made it clear this week that getting more consistency from the Seahawks offensive line will be a priority heading into 2016.

The Seahawks selected Okung with the sixth overall pick in 2010, and he has been a six-year starter. He said he knows that negotiations can get personal, with the organization explaining why it is only willing to go to a certain number. Agents can sometimes provide a buffer, but that won't be the case with Okung.

"I have to remove myself and ask myself what the truth is about the situation," Okung said. "Once I can do that, I’ll have clarity in what I want and what I’m capable of and what I think my value is.

"I’ve always had my focus on [it] in some way or at some level. Just the truth of it and realizing what the numbers are in terms of the cap here and other prospective places. One day at a time, and I’ll figure it out moving forward."

If the Seahawks lose Okung, they most likely will have to use free agency or the draft to find a new starting left tackle. Garry Gilliam could be an option, but asking him to move over from right tackle after just one year as a starter could be difficult.

Asked about Okung's role in his development, Gilliam said, "He’s a great mind. A lot of the things that he would tell me in terms of how to counter rushes and how to see defenses and certain things of how to feel 'em, he’s helped develop me a lot. ... He’s always a nice little person on my shoulder, like, ‘Garry, be confident. You can do this. You can be great. There’s no reason why someone should be better than you. You have all the tools for it.’ So just instilling confidence in me, reinforcing that for me."

Gilliam, along with others on the team and around the league, will be keeping an eye on how Okung handles the process.

"Push for everything he can get," Gilliam said. "Don’t settle for less. I would love for him to be here, but if it doesn’t work out, I expect him to be doing great things somewhere else."