Carolina Panthers: Trai Turner deal very shortsighted for organization

(Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images) Trai Turner
(Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images) Trai Turner /

The Carolina Panthers swung for the fences on this deal.

The Carolina Panthers have made one of their biggest splashes of the offseason so far, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Carolina traded five-time Pro bowl guard Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for two-time Pro bowl offensive tackle Russell Okung on Wednesday.

Okung is set to make $13 million in base salary next season. He will then be a free agent in 2021. In the meantime, Turner is set to make $8.5 million in 2020 and $11 million in 2021.

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This deal is rather intriguing, and not necessarily in a good way. They are definitely rebuilding with this trade, there is no doubt about it. Turner’s deal is filled with more money at the back end of it, while Okung’s deal offers immediate flexibility.

I understand the Carolina Panthers are rebuilding. They have made that abundantly clear. However, this is a situation where even in a rebuild, the Panthers just gave away one of their better players on the line. The line has already struggled throughout the past couple of seasons to begin with. Now, just from a pedigree standpoint, the Carolina Panthers might have made their struggles worse.

The Chargers definitely won this deal. Again, I get why the Carolina Panthers made this trade. They want to cut costs. However, the Carolina Panthers need help on the line right now, and trading away Turner does nothing to help that right now. The Carolina Panthers better hope that Okung can play at a high level. He dealt with some injury problems last year, and that certainly does not make me warm and fuzzy as a Panthers fan.

The other aspect of this deal that I am not too thrilled on is that Turner has two more years left on his deal. Yes, he will be paid the big bucks. However, team control of a star offensive lineman like Turner is certainly advantageous. Okung could walk after next year, so there’s really no guarantee that the Panthers will be able to get a solid return on their investment.

Hopefully, both sides of this trade will be able to work out. I feel like the Panthers were looking too far into the future with this move, and not trying to look at their needs right now.

They definitely need to address the line in the draft next month, and I’ll be interested to see what they do. They have a lot of ways they could go with their first pick. They need to make sure they use it wisely. Thursday’s  trade may have given them a bit more clarity as to who they will select. General manager Marty Hurney and the organization need to make sure that they hit the nail on the head with this pick.