Bears To Release Charles Leno

The Bears are cutting a staple of their offensive line for nearly the past decade. Chicago will be releasing veteran left tackle Charles Leno, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

No matter what Bears fans think of Leno, he far out-performed his draft status. A seventh-round pick back in 2014, he got his first start as a rookie and became the full-time starter at left tackle in 2015. He’s been durable, starting all 16 games in each of the past five seasons for Chicago.

In a follow-up tweet Rapoport describes the cut as a purely financial decision, one which will save the Bears $9MM in cap space when they make it a post-June 1 release. Leno certainly never was a star and caught a lot of flak the past couple yeas in Chicago, but he did make the Pro Bowl in 2018.

The Bears traded up to draft Oklahoma State’s Tevin Jenkins in the second-round this weekend, and Rapoport says they plan to plug him into the left side of the offensive line immediately. The 39th overall pick will be tasked with protecting the blindsides of Justin Fields and/or Andy Dalton as a rookie.

Leno had signed a four-year, $38MM extension with the Bears in 2017. He’ll now hit free agency at 29 and could become an intriguing option for teams like the Colts, who mostly decided to punt on offensive tackle during the draft. Indy currently only has Sam Tevi set to replace Anthony Castonzo, and Colts owner Jim Irsay recently hinted they could explore other veteran options.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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