The Panthers traded their five-time Pro Bowl right guard Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers for Okung in March. At the time we did a roundtable of grades. The deal got a C- grade on average from our team of contributors. Some people disliked the deal a lot more, though. As the elite Steven Ruiz at For the Win (who gave Carolina an F) put it:
“Essentially, the Panthers paid $10 million and turned two seasons of a 26-year-old Pro Bowl guard into one season of a 30-something tackle who’s coming off a season in which he missed 10 games.”
Fast forward nine months and the concerns about Okung’s age and health turned out to be well-founded. Okung has missed all but seven games this season due to multiple injuries. In his defense, Okung has generally blocked well when he’s been out there, but availability is an NFL player’s most valuable commodity and Okung’s is declining.
The team’s backups have fared no better, unfortunately. Yesterday, the team placed Trent Scott on the injured reserve list. Along with Greg Little and Dennis Daley, that’s the third OL who has played the position to go on IR in just the last couple of weeks.
Guard Michael Schofield came in to replace Scott when he went down with his shoulder injury against Washington. Playing out of position proved brutal for him, though. This week against the Saints the Panthers may consider starting Matt Kaskey, who was just signed from the practice squad.
Looking ahead, this spot has to be near the top of the list for the front office to address this offseason.