What a monster win for the Bolts! Russell Okung is a fine tackle, but has some major injury concerns. He suffered a life-threatening Pulmonary Embolism, which could be a recurring issue. Okung has also expressed concern on the direction of the franchise, so this could be another factor of why the Bolts were ready to move on from the 2-time pro bowler. Okung is 32 years old and his play will begin to decline, if it hasn’t already. Insert Trai Turner!
Just 26 years old and entering his prime, Trai Turner is a massive upgrade to this line. While the loss of Okung on the edge isn’t a great thing, the Chargers now have one of the brightest upcoming Guards in the league. He is a 5-time pro bowler and should he reach his full potential, could become an All-Pro. The Bolts will clear about $3M in cap space and will pay Turner about $9M. He is due $11.5M next year, which is well within his value, but look for the Bolts to lock up Turner next offseason to a multi-year deal.
What Does this Mean for the Chargers Offensive Line?
The signing of Turner means that Michael Schofield will not be back with the team next year. It also means that Dan Feeney and Forrest Lamp will be in a camp battle for the Left Guard spot. It remains to be seen if the Bolts will move on from Mike Pouncey at Center and let Scott Quessenberry take the reigns. Either way, the starting center next year is currently under contract. The issue that remains is who will be the teams starting tackles on both sides of the line.
Trey Pipkins in theory was drafted to eventually become the teams starting Left Tackle. It’s my belief that he is not ready, but the team could roll with him next year. Sam Tevi is still under contract and likely to be at least a depth piece to fill on either side, but no Charger fans wants to see him starting next year. The Chargers are likely to find at least one big name Tackle in free agency and/or in the draft. There is no way that the Tom Telesco rolls into next season without upgrading the edges of this line.
Barring a failed physical by Russell Okung, the Chargers Offensive Line looks to be quite different in 2020. The worst thing that could happen here is a failed physical, or the Panthers back out before the new league year begins. This is a massive trade that Tom Telesco rarely makes and one that benefits the Chargers more then the Panthers. See how Twitter erupts below: