Two weeks after the Broncos declined Okung’s 2017 option, the veteran left tackle signed with the Chargers on a four-year contract, the team confirmed Friday. Okung’s deal is worth $53 million with $13.25 million in guarantees, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source informed of the deal.
The Bolts edged out the Vikings, who were also courting Okung to join freshlysigned Riley Reiff.
Okung took advantage of a weak tackle market to revive his value after a disappointing one-year Broncos stint that featured too many penalties and QB pressures. The 2010 first-round pick has started 88 of a possible 112 games in Seattle and Denver over seven NFL seasons.
Ranked No. 46 on Around The NFL’s list of the Top 100 free agents, Okung figures to take over at left tackle in Los Angeles, kicking King Dunlap to the right side as D.J. Fluker’s replacement.
“We’re very happy with Philip Rivers, and I think he’s got a number of good years left in him,” Telesco said on NFL Network’s Up To The Minute on Thursday. “We can win with Philip, and we’re happy with him. But since I’ve arrived here, we’ve always done a lot of work on the quarterbacks. You just have to.”
He added: “Even though we have our franchise quarterback, we always have to be looking toward the future. It’s work we’ve done every year. We’ll do work on all the quarterbacks. You never say never. You just never know in this business. You have to be prepared in this business, whether you’re picking at No. 7 or if we trade back, it’s just hard to tell right now. We will scout every position like we don’t have someone there, and we’ll make determinations draft day on what we end up doing. But right now we’re very happy with Philip. He’s the leader of this football team, and we feel like we can win with him.”
With so many varied opinions on this year’s quarterback class, it wouldn’t be a bad year for a surprise developmental pick. The Cardinals also have hinted that it might be time to find someone to supplant Carson Palmer jersey.
Of course, this would be a difficult proposition to saddle new head coach Anthony Lynn with. Not only is the team moving to Los Angeles and settling into temporary facilities, but they’re installing a new culture and a new defense. Dealing with a future face-of-the-franchise quarterback might be too much of a load to bear.
The Chargers released the veteran inside linebacker on Thursday, a move Butler revealed in a statement on Twitter before the team made it official.
“It’s been an amazing ride SD,” Butler wrote. “To my teammates and fans who have supported me throughout (the) last 6 years I am forever appreciative and grateful. Also, to the Spanos family for giving me the opportunity to play in a great city in front of great fans. So excited for what’s next and the opportunities ahead! To God be the glory!”
The move creates $9.41 million in salary-cap space for San Diego, but also saddles the Chargers with $18.69 million in dead money. Just two years after signing a lucrative seven-year, $51.8 million contract, Butler faded down the stretch in 2015.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that San Diego brass valued Butler, but also view 2015 second-round pick Denzel Perryman as a “star in the making.”
Six years after the Chargers made him a third-round pick, Butler is back looking for work. He’ll find it — plenty of teams need interior help — but not under anything resembling the last contract he signed.
The Chargers also announced Thursday that they released running back Donald Brown, and linebackers Kavell Conner and Chi Chi Ariguzo.