Bears Part Ways With Veteran Starter After Draft

Bears Part Ways With Veteran Starter After Draft


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Charles Leno Jr.

The Chicago Bears are releasing veteran offensive lineman Charles Leno Jr. As first reported by NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the move comes days after Chicago moved up in the second round to select tackle Teven Jenkins in the second round. Leno confirmed his release via Twitter minutes later, in which he succinctly reminded everyone about the impressive trajectory his seven-year career has taken:

“2014 7th round draft pick, 93 consecutive starts in the past 7 seasons with the team that I was drafted to. My time in Chicago has officially come to an end. It’s a bittersweet day but I am excited to see where this next chapter takes me,” Leno Tweeted Monday morning.

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Leno Has Been an Inconsistent, Yet Durable Presence on the Line

As he noted, the Bears took Leno in the seventh round in 2014 out of Boise State, and he has been their starter at left tackle for the last seven years. He played 1,060 snaps at the position last season, earning a 74.6 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. Of those snaps, 694 were in pass protection, while 372 were run blocking. He allowed five sacks, seven quarterback hits and a whopping 42 hurries in 2020. He also drew six penalties, many of which were costly for the offense.

Considering Leno’s durability, the team releasing him is predominantly fiscally based. The 29-year-old left tackle will be a post-June cut, which will save the Bears $9 million against the cap next season, per Rapoport. Now, Chicago will look to two rookies in Jenkins and Larry Borom, the big offensive lineman out of Missouri the team selected in the fifth round, to fill out its o-line. It will be a risky move, but it could pay off.

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