Russell Okung – LT
There are high stakes surrounding Russell Okung next season. The Carolina Panthers made the bold move to trade for the left tackle in a deal that sent perennial Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers. And the veteran will be tasked with providing quality blindside protection for Teddy Bridgewater in the coming months.
Okung has seen it all during an outstanding career in the NFL. His experience has been a welcome asset during an immensely difficult preparation period. But there are still some lingering doubts as to just how much the lineman has in the tank.
It will not take long for the Panthers to find out just what Okung can bring to the table in 2020. He is coming up against some of the best pass-rushers in the business almost from the word go. And if he is not up to the task, it is going to be a liability that could be catastrophic.
There is also a concerning situation regarding Okung’s health to consider. The Super Bowl winner missed ten games in 2019 due to a pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots. He does appear all-in on the season after rumors of a potential retirement were quashed. But this is still something to keep a close eye on as fears remain surrounding COVID-19 across the country.
Okung is heading into the final year of his deal and will make a base salary of $13 million in 2020. He is fighting for one last payday before hanging up his cleats. But whether that comes in Carolina or elsewhere is another matter entirely.