Carolina Panthers training camp: 4 questions facing the offensive line

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) Taylor Moton
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) Taylor Moton /
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Russell Okung, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Russell Okung /

Carolina Panthers Question No. 1: Can Russell Okung stay healthy?

The Carolina Panthers made arguably their strangest move of the offseason when they traded away standout guard Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for Russell Okung. The veteran left tackle has enjoyed a superb career. But there are plenty of questions about what sort of influence he can be across the organization in 2020.

Okung is entering the twilight of his career. And he had real problems staying on the field for the Chargers in 2019. The Super Bowl winner managed just 257 snaps last season, giving up six penalties on his way to a 62.4 grade from Pro Football Focus.

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This is a trend that will need to go the other way if the Panthers are to secure any sort of success. Okung has been brought in to protect new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s blindside. And although he is more than capable at the top of his game. He might be past the peak of his powers.

The task awaiting Okung in 2020 is substantial. He will be coming up against some of the NFL’s most feared pass-rushers. And Carolina doesn’t have a bye until week 13, which will do the former No. 6 overall pick’s health no favors whatsoever.

He is heading into the final year of his deal and Okung will be making a base salary of $13 million next season. With the salary cap coming down due to a lack of revenue. It appears almost certain that the Panthers will move on from the lineman after just one year.

Okung will need to perform well in order to prove he is worthy of another deal in Carolina or elsewhere. His time earning eight-figures a year might be over after 2020. But he might still have some good years left in the tank.