PFF projects Washington to spend some serious cash on a free agent left tackle

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Peter Hailey
·3 min read
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PFF sees Washington spending serious cash on a free agent LT originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

In the post-Trent Williams world, Washington has gotten adequate production out of left tackles such as Donald Penn, Geron Christian and Cornelius Lucas. That trio hasn’t come close to matching Williams' elite work up front, but they have done enough to ensure the position hasn’t immediately regressed into a glaring weakness.

Lucas and Christian are also under contract for 2021, meaning the club could stick with that pairing to protect its QBs and open up lanes for its running backs. One website, however, doesn't see that happening.

Instead, in a piece meant to project where the top 50 free agents will sign once the market opens, Pro Football Focus predicts that Russell Okung, the 33rd player on the list, will end up with the Burgundy and Gold.

He won't come cheaply, either.

PFF laid out a hypothetical three-year contract for Okung, one that includes $32.5 million guaranteed and a maximum value of $50 million. 

Here's the reasoning behind the prognostication:

Okung has ties to Washington: Marty Hurney, who traded for Okung as general manager for the Carolina Panthers back in 2020, is now the executive vice president of football of player personnel... Washington is in need of a left tackle and has the money to afford a guy like Okung.

PFF

All of that is totally true. So, time to start prepping for Okung's arrival?

Not so fast.

Here's the second half of the site's take on the veteran lineman:

Okung has played just over 650 snaps over the last couple of years for the Chargers and Panthers. He was average at best on those reps, earning a PFF grade that ranked 46th among 90 qualifying tackles, and he turns 33 years old in the middle of next season. Needless to say, this would be an extremely risky bet.

PFF

All of a sudden, the addition doesn't appear to be so appealing.

With how he performed after taking over for an injured Christian, Lucas showed that he could be a serviceable choice on the outside. Plus, he costs considerably less than what Okung is expected to net in March. Ron Rivera brought him in last offseason and could opt to let him build off of a solid campaign.

Saahdiq Charles, meanwhile, a 2020 fourth-round choice, briefly caught Rivera's eye as a rookie before injuries ruined his debut season.

Yet the ties to Hurney, who has ties to Rivera, shouldn't be ignored, and though 33 is not a prime age, guys like Jason Peters and Andrew Whitworth have proven that it's possible to excel at left tackle deep into one's 30s. Okung will have suitors.

Back in 2010, Washington selected Williams fourth overall out of Oklahoma. Two picks later, Seattle took Okung sixth overall out of Oklahoma State. Could the latter slide in as a potential solution now that the former is long, long gone? PFF certainly believes so.

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