4 Carolina Panthers free agents who will get paid too much in 2021

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Russell Okung /

Russell Okung – OT

Premium left tackles – no matter how old they are – are always highly sought after in today’s NFL. Russell Okung fit into this particular category once upon a time but the Pro Bowler might now have to settle for being targeted among the second-tier of free agents due to his problems staying healthy over the last couple of seasons.

The Carolina Panthers raised a few eyebrows when they acquired Okung in a trade that sent Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers. His production was relatively pleasing when he was protecting Teddy Bridgewater’s blindside, of that there is little doubt. However, the Super Bowl-winner appeared just seven times for the organization and it would be a huge shock if he was brought back.

Carolina’s first two signings in free agency were offensive linemen. Pat Elflein and Cam Erving may have struggled to protect efficiently in starting roles during their time in the league so far. But they will certainly be a lot cheaper than someone like Okung and should provide depth if the Panthers get additional reinforcements in via the 2021 NFL Draft.

Okung is heading into the twilight of his career and he might decide to call it a day and live off his career earnings that were further boosted by converting half of his $13 million of base salary in 2020 into Bitcoin. If he decides to play on, someone will overpay on past production alone in the hope he can stay fit for a prolonged period.