Panthers, Chargers To Trade Pro Bowl Offensive Linemen

Los Angeles Chargers will reportedly trade Russell Okung for the Panthers' Trai Turner

Big-Name Trade between Panthers & Chargers

When the NFL free agency period officially begins at 4 pm ET on March 18, the Panthers and Chargers will kick things off with a big-name trade.

According to reports, Carolina has agreed to send guard Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for offensive tackle Russell Okung.

First Big Move For Rhule

Aside from parting ways with tight end Greg Olsen, this will be the first big move for new Panthers head coach Matt Rhule. 

After being selected in the third round of the 2014 draft, Turner started 80 out of 84 games played for the Panthers.

Okung is set to begin his 11th NFL season after spending the first six years with Seattle before moving on to Denver. After a single year with the Broncos, Okung has spent the last three seasons with the Chargers.

Panthers Fill A Need With Okung

Left tackle was a revolving door for Carolina last season, so they would have been eager to find a solid option at the position heading into the 2020 season. Okung should be able to fill that need.

However, the 31-year-old could be a one-year stopgap at left tackle. Okung is currently in the final year of a four-year deal and will count as $13 million against the salary cap.

Still, the two-time Pro Bowler will be a welcome piece as he reunites with offensive line coach Pat Meyer, who worked with Okung for three years with the Chargers. There’s potential for a new deal to keep Okung in Carolina, but for now, the Panthers are simply looking for a tackle who can finish the season.

Carolina Has Struggled With The Position

After signing Matt Khalil to a $55 million deal, the lineman was placed on the IR in 2018 and released in 2019. Since then, the Panthers have struggled to stay healthy at the position.

Carolina selected Greg Little out of Ole Miss to fill the position a season ago, but concussion issues and an ankle injury sidelined the rookie for all but three games. Dennis Daley and Daryl Williams also received playing time at left tackle last year.

The Panthers are hoping Okung, who’s started 124 games in his NFL career, will bring a veteran presence and stability to the position.

Chargers Win Trade By Acquiring Turner

While the Panthers are filling a need, the Chargers are getting their hands on a talented young lineman who could serve as a cornerstone of their football team for the better part of a decade.

The 26-year-old has been selected to the Pro Bowl in five of his first six NFL seasons, only having missed out in his rookie campaign. And while Okung is in the final year of his deal, Turner has two years remaining on his current contract.

A Good Deal For Los Angeles

Turner will count for $8.5 million against the cap this season and will count for $11.5 million against the cap in 2021.

According to reports, Turner is looking for a new deal. However, the Chargers are under no obligation to offer Turner a contract, and would likely only be forced to do so if Turner holds out.

So, the Chargers were able to offload an expensive, aging tackle and bring in a younger, more-affordable option on the offensive line.

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