Carolina Panthers' Jeff Otah watches the preseason football game against...

Carolina Panthers' Jeff Otah watches the preseason football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers from the bench in Pittsburgh. (Aug. 29, 2008) Credit: AP

Wayne Hunter might not be the Jets' starting right tackle after all.

The team announced Monday that it acquired former Panthers tackle Jeff Otah in a trade for what is reporting to be a conditional seventh-round draft pick.

The 6-6, 340-pound Otah was Carolina's first-round draft pick (19th overall) in 2008, but he last started a game Oct. 9 against New Orleans. Last season, the right tackle, who has had two surgeries on his left knee, was placed on injured reserve after playing only four games the past two seasons.

In his first two seasons in Carolina, he started 25 of 32 games at right tackle and in 2009, he blocked for running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart -- the first pair of teammates in NFL history to each rush for more than 1,100 yards in the same season.

If Otah is healthy heading into training camp, he'll be an upgrade over Hunter. Though new offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo raved about Hunter's size and talent -- "Until they tell me otherwise and until they ship him out of this building or until they shoot me dead in my office, that son of a gun is going to be my starting right tackle," DeGuglielmo said two months ago -- Hunter has yet to prove his inconsistency is a thing of the past.

Hunter agreed with DeGuglielmo's ringing endorsement, insisting he was the starting right tackle for the foreseeable future. But shortly thereafter, the team went out and signed tackles Ray Willis and Stephon Heyer. Willis has since been waived.

Otah missed the Panthers' minicamp with swelling on his left knee, but Carolina general manager Marty Hurney told reporters there is no structural damage.

"I think he's OK," Hurney said. "Just trying to be cautious with him and getting it stronger."

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