Yet another key NFL player is on the move ahead of free agency, and this time it's Russell Okung. The veteran offensive tackle was set to enter the final year of his existing contract with the Los Angeles Chargers but has instead been traded to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for Trai Turner, CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora confirms. The transaction can not be made final until the new league year begins on March 18, but all parties have been notified of the teams' intent to perform the swap.
Okung, 31, is a former first-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks who went on to garner two Pro Bowl nods after joining the Denver Broncos, along with a Super Bowl win. The Chargers are shipping him away to Charlotte in exchange for a younger Turner -- who turns 27 in June -- who already has five Pro Bowl nods under his belt after having been selected in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Panthers.
According to CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones, there are no picks involved in the trade.
In the deal, the Panthers absorb $13 million in base salary for Okung and $9.6 million in dead money, per Over The Cap, while the Chargers take on the two remaining years of Turner's contract -- with $8.5 million and $11 million in base salary, respectively. In considering the financial ramifications of the deal, it's unclear if the Panthers plan on retaining Okung for the future. They could attempt to restructure his deal to lessen his meteoric impact on their salary cap -- a likely move.
Additionally, there is a foundation in place for him to stick around in 2020.
In 2020, the Panthers wooed away Pat Meyer, Okung's former position coach with the Chargers, to handle offensive line coaching duties in Carolina. He could also help former second-round pick Greg Little develop into an impact starter at the NFL level, but the decision to send Turner out of town in exchange for an expensive mentor will cause some to question the move.