Chargers reportedly may have violated NFL rules in negotiations with Russell Okung

One of the first players to cash in when NFL free agency began Thursday was offensive lineman Russell Okung, who signed a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Chargers

If Okung wants to thank his agent for a job well done on the multimillion-dollar deal, all he has to do is look in the mirror. That’s right: Okung served as his own agent during negotiations and, apparently, he’s pretty good. 

The offensive lineman was able to talk the Chargers into a four-year, $53 million deal that that included $25 million in guaranteed money, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. Although Okung was chastised last year for making a long-term deal with the Broncos that was in reality a one-year commitment, this one appears to be the real thing. 

In 2016, the offensive lineman, who was again serving as his own agent, agreed to a five-year, $53 million deal with Denver. However, Okung didn’t see most of that money. After making $8 million for the 2016 season, the Broncos decided not to pick up his option for 2017, which  made him a free agent. 

This time around, Okung made sure to score a contract that included more guaranteed money. Plus, since he doesn’t have to pay a fee to his agent, Okung is going to be taking home more money than anyone else who might sign a similar deal. 

Of course, there is a downside to being your own agent: You have to know all the rules. 

According to Mike Klis of 9news.com in Denver, Okung (and the Chargers) may have broken NFL rules during their negotiations. 

Although there is a legal tampering period where teams are allowed to talk to agents in the 48 hours before free agency begins, that rule doesn’t apply to players who are serving as their own agent, because teams aren’t allowed to contact any free agents during the tampering period. 

Basically Okung wasn’t allowed to talk to any teams before 4 p.m. ET on Thursday. According to Klis, his NFL sources believe that the Chargers violated that rule. 

Now, tampering might not seem like a big deal, but it could be if the NFL decides to investigate.

In March 2016, the Chiefs were docked two draft picks and fined a total of $350,000 for breaking the NFL’s tampering policy during negotiations with free agent Jeremy Maclin in 2015.

If the NFL decides not to investigate, then the Chargers won’t have anything to worry about. Well, not off the field. Based on Okung’s play from 2016, they might start to worry about whether he can protect Philip Rivers

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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