The new pact marks a massive step up in pay for the former seventh round pick. Prior to today’s agreement, he had just one year left on his rookie deal at a salary of $1.797MM.
Leno, 25, has started 32 games for the Bears over the past two seasons, including the last 29 contests. Last year he graded out as the No. 41 tackle among 78 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. He may not be a superstar, but it’s getting harder and harder to find quality tackles. Leno offers stability and youth at a time when some older mediocre tackles are making north of $7MM/year.
The Bears now have the left side of their offensive line locked up for years to come thanks to recent deals for Leno and left guard Kyle Long. Starting to the right of those two will be center Cody Whitehair, Josh Sitton, and Bobby Massie. The Bears hope that they have the building blocks in place for an O-Line that can adequately protect Mike Glennon in 2017 and Mitch Trubisky in future seasons.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.