CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - The offseason has officially begun.
The Panthers have tentatively agreed to a trade with the Los Angeles Chargers, swapping offensive lineman, per multiple reports. Carolina will receive left tackle Russell Okung while the Chargers will receive right guard Trai Turner.
The trade cannot be official until the start of the new league year March 18th.
The move reunited Okung with his offensive line coach from the past three years in Pat Meyers, who the Panthers hired this offseason. It also gives the team a solid option at the left tackle position after significant turnover at the key position over the last few years. Carolina traded up in the second round last year to draft Greg Little for the position, but he only played in four games in 2019 due to two concussions and an ankle injury.
Okung played in six games in 2019 after beginning the year on injured reserve due to a pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots. He has only played in all 16 games of a season once in his career. Prior to his three years with the Chargers, Okung spent one with the Broncos and the previous six with the Seahawks, who drafted him sixth overall in the 2010 NFL draft.
Okung has one year left on his contract and is due $15.5 million this season per Spotrac. He will turn 33-years old during the 2020 season.
The Panthers are moving on from their Pro Bowl guard, who has dealt with many injuries since being drafted by Carolina in the third round of the 2014 NFL draft out of LSU. Turner is 26-years old and had signed a four-year, $45 million contract in 2017. He was owed $12.8 million this coming year and was due $15.4 million in the final year of his deal in 2021.
Turner had been reported to be on the trade market for the Panthers. He has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last five seasons. Per Pro Football reference, he allowed six sacks in 13 games played last year.
Since releasing veteran tight end Greg Olsen in January, this is the first big offseason move the Panthers have made under new head coach Matt Rhule. The Panthers will now have some serious questions at the guard position with starting guard Greg Van Roten entering free agency this offseason.