Last offseason, the Panthers made quite a surprising trade by sending five-time Pro Bowler Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for offensive tackle Russell Okung.
At the time of the trade, it didn't make much sense to give up a young, solid guard for an aging tackle. With that said, I understand the reasoning behind it by trying to get something the Panthers haven't had in a long time and that's a reliable left tackle.
Just because there was a need at the position doesn't mean the Panthers should have gone and dealt arguably their best offensive lineman. This move is one of many that former GM Marty Hurney made that played into his firing.
Okung only played in five games this season as he dealt with a series of injuries, but mostly a lingering calf injury. After just one season in Carolina, he will officially become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
So, should the Panthers consider bringing him back?
For me, it's a no. Okung is a solid left tackle and will be of great value to a contending team in 2021 and beyond. Bringing him back just doesn't make much sense to me. Right tackle Taylor Moton just completed the final year of his rookie deal, so he needs to be the main priority. With the NFL's new salary cap, it's going to make for some extremely difficult decisions and Okung, a guy that played in just five games, should not be in the conversation.
Greg Little still has two years remaining on his current contract so he still has time to develop. If the Panthers are wary about his future, there are several options not only in this year's draft but in free agency as well. It might not be a bad idea for Carolina to bring in another vet on a cheap deal to help mentor Little for the next two years. If progress is not being shown from Little over the next year, then you can draft an offensive tackle high in the 2022 draft.
There are plenty of options for the Panthers to consider this offseason, but once again, Russell Okung should not be one of those options.
You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the top right-hand corner of the page. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook & Twitter:
Facebook - @PanthersOnSI