The Chargers trading Russell Okung away for Trai Turner now means that the team must find a starter at both offensive tackle spots, not just the right side anymore. Does that mean the Chargers will shift from potentially coveting a Tristan Wirfs or Jedrick Wills in the first round to a Mekhi Becton? Dare I say, Andrew Thomas? Or are they still set on taking a quarterback at #6 and hoping Trey Pipkins makes a miraculous leap forward in his progression?
That last part may be highly likely because, well, they just got rid of the best mentor on the team for the position in Okung.
The trade also has fans joking around with the fact that the Chargers don’t need a left tackle when Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa is a left-handed passer. In that scenario the Chargers would go ahead and invest in one of the top RTs in the draft or free agency. Coincidentally, Pro Football Focus believes the team should do just that.
In their latest feature that suggests one perfect free agent for each of the 32 NFL teams, PFF matched the Chargers with Titans right tackle Jack Conklin, who is arguably the top available right tackle in free agency apart from the Packers Bryan Bulaga who is six years older.
Here’s what they had to say about the pairing:
“Surprise, surprise — the offensive line is an issue for the Chargers again. The right tackle spot, especially, struggled last season as Sam Tevi and Trent Scott split time, with each player serving more as a negative than a positive. Los Angeles should be looking to add someone like Conklin, the premier right tackle option on the market. He has had a solid four years with the Titans to start his career, and he was dominant in helping to clear room for Derrick Henry in the running game in 2019 with an 84.0 run-blocking grade. A young, above-average tackle such as Conklin isn’t going to come cheap, but the Chargers need to find solutions on the offensive line. The solutions are long overdue.”
Adding someone like Conklin sounds ideal until you realize you he will cost a pretty penny and the team only freed up roughly $3 million in cap space by trading Okung. I don’t think the Chargers can afford to pay Conklin what he deserves on top of the contracts that hold more priority over a right tackle which include Hunter Henry and Austin Ekeler along with those coming up next season with Joey Bosa, Keenan Allen, and Desmond King.
Titans’ OT Jack Conklin will have many suitors in free agency, but he is not expected to land with the offensive-line-needy Jets, per sources. Jets like him, but the competition for him will be intense and there will be many suitors.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 1, 2020
If we believe that the cap isn’t real, like the Philadelphia Eagles have shown with the way they’ve been able to manipulate their contracts, than maybe there’s a miniscule chance that Tom Telesco can pull a scenario off where Conklin becomes a Charger and they still sign everyone they need to over the next year. But until that happens, it might be safe to say that Conklin isn’t going to be a priority for the Bolts this offseason.