Panthers trading Turner to Chargers for Okung; acquire Salisbury native Smith

Panthers trading Turner to Chargers for Okung; acquire Salisbury native Smith
Russell Okung, Trai Turner and Chris Smith (GETTY IMAGES)

CHARLOTTE — A person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press that the Carolina Panthers have agreed to acquire two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung from the Los Angeles Chargers for five-time Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal can't be processed and the teams cannot comment on it until the NFL's new league year begins March 18.

ESPN and the NFL Network were first to report the deal.

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Okung has spent the past three seasons with the Chargers and fills a need at left tackle that the Panthers have had ever since Michael Oher retired in 2016, one season after Carolina reached the Super Bowl.

The 32-year-old Okung played in six games last year and did not allow a sack. He spent the first part of the season on the reserve/non-football illness list with a pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots.

Okung has started 124 games during his career, winning a Super Bowl with Seattle in the 2013 season.

The 26-year-old Turner has been a mainstay at guard for the Panthers since he was drafted in the third round in 2014.

He has made the Pro Bowl in each of the past five seasons. However, Pro Football Focus stats indicate Turner allowed six sacks in 13 games played last season, which ranked 30th overall among guards.

It's unclear what the trade for Okung means for the future of Panthers left tackle Greg Little, who was selected in the second round last season but struggled to stay on the field because of multiple concussions.

Turner has two years left on his contract and is due to make $8.5 million this season and $11.5 million next year. Okung has one year left on his contract, and is scheduled to make $13 million this season.

Former Cleveland Browns defensive end Chris Smith signing with the Panthers

Former Cleveland Browns defensive end, and Salisbury native, Chris Smith is also joining the Carolina Panthers.

ESPN reports Smith signed a one-year deal with the team.

The West Rowan High School grad started two games for the Browns in 2018. He was released from the team following a disappointing season.

Smith has also played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals.

Last year, a suspected drunk driver hit and killed Smith's girlfriend, Petara Cordero. The couple was waiting on the side of a Cleveland highway after an accident.

Petara had just given birth to the couple’s first child two weeks earlier.

Charlotte woman killed in Ohio crash