Shoulder, depth at OT in draft contributing to Okung negotiations

Okung's struggles with durability and remarkable depth at the offensive tackle position for the 2016 NFL Draft is a lot to consider.

Prior to the official start of free agency last Wednesday, the Seahawks reportedly made a  "strong offer" to free agent left tackle Russell Okung, attempting to retain the two-time Pro Bowler.

As is his right, Okung elected to take his chances on the open market and has since traveled to visit the NY GiantsDetroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers with reports that the San Francisco 49ers are interested, as well.

Normally, 28-year old Pro Bowl-caliber left tackles get swiped up quicker in free agency than freebies on Black Friday. Certainly Okung expected to get plenty of interest. He sounded confident last month in an interview with Seattle's 710 AM.

"I think the value speaks for itself," Okung said. "I think there's a necessity in my position league-wide and we'll just have to see where it goes. Really excited about the opportunity, though."

The fact that the traveling Okung show continues, however, can be taken as a sign that he and the clubs considering his services remain relatively far apart in their negotiations. The Seahawks - who lost primary backup left tackle Alvin Bailey to the Cleveland Browns last week - would seemingly be especially anxious to get the longest-tenured blocker on the team back.

Durability and depth at the position in the draft, however, may be allowing general manager John Schneider and chief negotiator Matt Thomas to take a firmer stance than expected with Okung and other free agent left tackles still on the open market, like the Oakland Raiders' Donald Penn and Pittsburgh Steelers' Kelvin Beachum.

Okung's struggles with durability since being drafted sixth overall back in 2010 have been well documented.  He's never made it through all 16 regular season games in any of his six seasons in the NFL and is currently coming off of surgery to repair the dislocated shoulder which knocked him out of the divisional round playoff loss to Carolina.

For all of the attention that has been paid to the defensive linemen of the 2016 NFL draft, however, the offensive line is also a relative strength. The Seahawks have no shot at the blue chip talent of the bunch - Mississippi's Laremy Tunsil - but there are a legitimate six tackles who may be available at No. 26 who warrant consideration, including Michigan State's Jack Conklin, Ohio State's Taylor Decker, Indiana's Jason Spriggs, Texas Tech's Le'Raven Clark. Texas A&M's Germain Ifedi and Auburn's Shon Coleman.

Spriggs, a former tight end, is the most athletic of the bunch and therefore would make sense in Tom Cable's zone-blocking scheme. Conklin and Decker aren't as agile but are tough guys with the nastiness to slide inside to guard, if necessary.

Clark, Ifedi and Coleman are each significantly more raw from a fundamental standpoint but given that Cable and fellow OL coach Pat Ruel have often elected to start from scratch with defensive line converts rather than re-teach technique, the greater length and upside of this trio could earn them higher grades with Seattle's staff.

As noted previously, the Seahawks also could elect to simply switch current right tackle Garry Gilliam to the left to replace Okung, allowing a rookie to slide in on the right side or perhaps moving left guard Justin Britt back outside. The Seahawks are grooming Mark Glowinski and Kristjan Sokoli in the hopes that one or both will take over interior offensive line positions soon. If the club moved Britt outside, each could get plugged into starting roles earlier than most fans think or the club could fall in love with the physicality and pro-readiness of a Joshua Garnett (Stanford) or Ryan Kelly (Alabama) - the only two interior offensive linemen I view as first round candidates.

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