Panthers: Top 5 offseason departures who will thrive on new teams

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Cam Newton
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Cam Newton /
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Trai Turner, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) Trai Turner /

player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. OL. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS. 3. 13. TRAITURNER

Carolina Panthers Player No. 3: Trai Turner (OL)

One of the more surprising moves made by the Carolina Panthers this offseason was trading away perennial Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner in exchange for veteran left tackle Russell Okung. They already had severe questions surrounding their protection. And these concerns have been raised further by their best guard leaving for pastures new.

Turner is an elite force on the line of scrimmage when firing on all cylinders. He has been ultra-consistent during his time in Carolina. And it remains to be seen whether the likes of John Miller and Michael Schofield can step up and produce.

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His arrival in Los Angeles spells tremendous news for whoever wins the quarterback battle between Tyrod Taylor and first-round pick Justin Herbert. Another who will benefit considerably is running back Austin Ekeler, who has now locked up the No. 1 position on the depth chart after Melvin Gordon departed in favor of a move to the Denver Broncos.

The former third-round selection out of LSU is credited for giving up six sacks in 2019, which is by far the worst of his career. This regression probably played a leading role in the Panthers’ decision to cut their losses. But there were also some financial reasons behind the move.

Okung is heading into the final year of his deal and will make $13 million in base salary next season. It appears highly unlikely the lineman will be kept around at this figure. And this is yet more money that can be utilized by tying up players like Taylor Moton or bringing in reinforcements during free agency.

A fresh start is probably what Turner also needs to rejuvenate his career. So this is a win-win for both parties.