Commanders

Free Agent Targets: Could Russell Okung be WFT's answer at LT?

Commanders
Russell Okung

With the Super Bowl in the past and the 2020 season in the books, NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux and Ryan Homler take a look at 10 potential free agents that the Washington Football Team could benefit from signing this offseason. Next up: Carolina Panthers OT Russell Okung.

Russell Okung, LT, Carolina Panthers

2010 first-round pick from Oklahoma State; Unrestricted free agent; 6-foot-5 | 310 lbs. | 32 years old

The offensive line for the Washington Football Team, behind All-Pro right guard Brandon Scherff and tackle Morgan Moses, turned in a fine season in 2020. The unit as a whole wasn't great, but the group would've earned a solid B on a yearly report card.

Re-signing Scherff is arguably the team's biggest priority of this offseason. But, once again, Washington has a hole on the other side of the offensive line at the group's most vital position: left tackle.

Between Cornelius Lucas and Geron Christian, the left tackle position was serviceable for Washington in 2020. But left tackle isn't a position you just get by at. Besides quarterback, finding a franchise left tackle is arguably the most important piece to any offense.

So, if Washington does want to address the position in free agency, there are a few options. But, one realistic one stands out above the rest.

Enter Russell Okung, a two-time Pro Bowler and one of the best left tackles available in free agency.

This isn't the first time Washington has been connected to Okung, either. During the pre-draft process in 2010, Washington held the fourth overall pick and was in need of a left tackle. Washington ended up selecting Oklahoma's Trent Williams with that pick (Okung went two picks later to Seattle) and the rest is history.

 

Okung hasn't had the career Williams has, but he's been one of the better left tackles in the game for the majority of his career. This spring will mark the first time both players are free agents at the same time, with both of them being arguably the two top tackles on the market (sorry, Washington fans: Williams won't be returning to Ashburn).

Although he's 32 years old, Okung has shown little to no signs of slowing down. According to PFF, Okung was a top-20 pass blocker of all offensive tackles last season. He also graded out as an above-average run blocker, too.

Recently, we've seen left tackles play into their late 30s still at a high level. Andrew Whitworth and Jason Peters are two prime examples. There's no reason why Okung can't as well.

There's only one reason Washington would be turned off by Okung this offseason: durability. Over the past two seasons, the tackle has missed 21 total games due to multiple injuries. He's healthy now, but missing that many games -- combined with his age -- could scare teams off.

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However, Okung's durability issues have likely driven down his price tag, which could be good news for Washington. Okung also serves as his own agent, which could lead to an unusual contract agreement.

In Washington, re-signing Scherff and adding Okung would turn the Football Team's front five into one of the league's best units. As the team looks to upgrade the QB position as well, playing behind an offensive line like that would be quite attractive to any signal-caller.

Since 2018, Washington has played multiple different players at left tackle trying to fill Williams' void. None have been able to hold the position down. By signing Okung, Washington would once again have a trusted left tackle for both the short and intermediate future.

Other Free Agent Targets:

Kenny Golladay

Allen Robinson

Safeties 

Lavonte David