Trade for Panthers: The Panthers were busy today, trading a conditional late round pick for Louis Murphy and then trading Jeff Otah for a conditional late round pick to the Jets (no word yet if those two are the same conditional late round picks). Otah was once one of the best right tackles in the game, but he’s played just 4 games over the last 2 seasons due to a variety of injuries and he’s reportedly become “soft” and the Panthers were questioning his commitment to football, according to Pro Football Talk’s Darin Gantt. Heading into his contract year, they decided to trade him and get something for him.
In the mean time, this means Byron Bell will be the Panthers’ starting right tackle. This is not a good thing because Bell ranked 62th out of 73 offensive tackles on ProFootballFocus last year, allowing 7 sacks, 7 quarterback hits, and 24 quarterback pressures in 12 starts, while committing 12 penalties and struggling as a run blocker (68th at his position). The Panthers would have been better off holding on to Otah and giving him another shot because they don’t have another good option. Otah still stands a chance to find his old form, now with the Jets.
Trade for Jets: This is all about the Jets taking a flier on upside. Otah is a more than capable starter when he’s right and at only 26, he’s still got a chance to bounce back. The Jets are buying low with him and getting him for only a conditional late rounder and will have to pay him just over a million this season. At the very least, Otah can provide good competition for Wayne Hunter at right tackle, who is awful. Hunter was ProFootballFocus’ 72nd ranked offensive tackle, allowing 11 sacks, 11 quarterback hits, and 32 quarterback pressures, while committing 11 penalties and ranking slightly below average as a run blocker. At best, Otah can turn this into a position of strength and help solidify what is the only weak link on their offensive line and help them get back to ground and pound.