The Broncos Must Decide on Russell Okung's Contract

Russell Okung bet on himself in free agency, but it's time to see if the Broncos share that faith in the big left tackle.

Sometimes when you gamble on yourself, it just doesn't work out like you thought it would.

That might be the case for left tackle Russell Okung, who negotiated his contract with the Denver Broncos last offseason without the counsel of a professional agent. It was a bold move, Cotton, but we're not sure it's going to pay off. Last year in free agency, Okung and the Broncos settled on a five-year deal worth a total of $53 million, but the deal is so team-friendly because of a $1 million option after the first season that gives the Broncos the choice to extend Okung's contract, guaranteeing him $21 million through 2018, or let him go.

The window to make the decision on Okung's future officially opened today, Feb. 10, and will last until the deadline on March 8.

It's hard to say that Okung was an abject disaster last season, although the offensive line as unit was as a whole. Compared to the right tackle position that was flimsily anchored by the tag-team duo of Donald Stephenson and Ty Sambrailo, Okung didn't look entirely horrendous, but didn't play up to the higher standard that his contract necessitated.

Plus, there's other fish in the sea for the Broncos at the left tackle position. At 20th overall in the draft, they'll be in position to draft either Cam RobinsonGarett Bolles, or Ryan Ramczyk as a potential mainstay at the end of the line.

In addition to the draft, the Broncos could also explore free agent options at the position, such as veteran tackles Andrew Whitworth and Riley Reiff.

It's hard not to respect Okung for believing in himself and his ability, but his gamble might lead to him being a free agent for a second consecutive offseason.

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Will Keys is an Editor for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.

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