The Chargers made a trade Wednesday with the Carolina Panthers. It sends left tackle Russell Okung to Carolina in exchange for guard Trai Turner. The trade doesn’t become official until the new league year starts on March 18.
Turner, 26, has been in the NFL for six seasons and for five consecutive seasons he has been named to the Pro Bowl. He also served as a captain for the Panthers in 2019.
Turner is going into his third year of a four-year $45 million contract extension he signed in 2017. The Chargers will have him under contract for the next two seasons.
The Bolts are gaining a very talented guard but are losing their left tackle.
Okung has been with the Bolts for three seasons and was a Pro Bowler in 2017. He has been a leader for the team since he arrived. Last season Okung only played in six games due to a blood clot, and the Chargers offensive line struggled as a result.
Okung now rejoins Panthers offensive line coach Pat Meyer, who was in Los Angeles from 2017-2019.
The team now will have to look for a left tackle in the draft or free agency. There are players like Andrew Whitworth, Kelvin Beachum, or Jason Peters who will be hitting free agency. Whitworth and Peters are both 38 years old.
In the draft the Chargers are slated to pick sixth overall. There are four solid choices the team could go with in Jedrick Willis (Albama), Tristan Wirfs (Iowa), Mekhi Becton (Louisville), and Andrew Thomas (Georgia).
The Chargers hired James Campen as their offensive line coach in February. More moves along the team’s offensive front are expected. The team is also waiting for center Mike Pouncey to be cleared after suffering a neck injury last season.
Now the team has lost two leaders with the trade of Okung and Philip Rivers entering free agency.