Russell Okung Signs With the Los Angeles Chargers

02 October 2016: Denver Broncos offensive tackle Russell Okung (73) blocks Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Noah Spence (57) during the NFL regular season game between the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Offensive tackle Russell Okung has agreed to terms on a contract with the Los Angeles. The four-year deal is worth $53 million and includes $25 million in guaranteed money. Okung spent the 2016 season with Denver Broncos.

Russell Okung Signs With the Los Angeles Chargers

After Okung’s contract option was not picked up by Denver, they sent him packing, a choice that freed up $11 million in cap space. Denver later stated that they wanted to rescind that decision and would like to have Okung back on their line. Citing the draft as a poor option for filling the current needs of the team, both head coach Vance Joseph and general manager John Elway commented that they would prefer to fill positions during free agency and save their draft picks for rookies to build on, not to start with.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas Okung attended college at Oklahoma State, where he received honorable mention for performance on an offensive line that conceded only five sacks during his sophomore year. Okung’s junior year was more of the same, with 71 knockdown tackles, and he earned the top power ranking for an offensive tackle in his senior year preceding the 2009 draft.

After being drafted as the sixth overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks, he hadn’t started or played in a full season until joining Denver in 2016. Unfortunately, he battled injury season, dealing with shoulder problems throughout. But even with the injuries, he was able to start in all 16 games for the Broncos.

The collection of free agent offensive linemen has been sparse this year, so trying to search for a needle in a haystack has proven to be a task most teams haven’t wanted to take on. Okung is a veteran presence that can bring some depth to the position, in the absence of more options.

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