Charles Leno

OL Notes: Vikings, Bengals, Pats, Nijman

Garrett Bradbury suffered a back injury last season, and the Vikings center saw his absence extended after he aggravated the malady in a car accident. Bradbury missed the Vikings’ final five regular-season games but returned for the team’s wild-card loss. The Vikings circled back to the former first-round pick in March, re-signing him to a three-year, $15.75MM deal. That contract becomes a pay-as-you go accord after 2023, and Bradbury has run into familiar trouble. The Vikings ruled out the fifth-year center for their Thursday-night game in Philadelphia due to a back injury.

We felt positive about him, and he’s done everything and had no issues whatsoever through a pretty physical training camp for us to feel really good about it,” Kevin O’Connell said (via ESPN’s Kevin Seifert) of Bradbury’s back issue. “It’s just how this game goes sometimes, and he’s a tough guy, big part of the interior of our offensive line and we’ll hope to get him back as soon as we can.”

Austin Schlottmann, who returned last week after a broken leg ended his 2022 season, is set to start at center against the Eagles. Here is the latest from the O-line landscape:

  • The Bengals completed an unexpected transaction this week, releasing La’el Collins from the reserve/PUP list. The team had given Collins a three-year, $21MM deal to step in at right tackle, which he did for 15 games. But ACL and MCL tears ended his 2022 season in Week 16 and prevented him from starting this season on time. The Bengals have Jonah Williams at right tackle opposite big-ticket UFA addition Orlando Brown Jr., but Jackson Carman — who replaced Williams at LT in the playoffs last season — is not the top backup any longer. D’Ante Smith, a 2021 fourth-round pick, is positioned as Cincinnati’s swing tackle now, Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Carman has started two playoff games but lost three position battles in his three training camps. Viewed as a project coming out of East Carolina, Smith has played 56 career offensive snaps.
  • Reliability questions surrounded the Patriots‘ offensive line, and the team responded accordingly when setting its 53-man roster. Before Riley Reiff ended up on IR, the Patriots submitted an initial 53 with 11 O-linemen. No other team’s first 53 included that many, as Mike Reiss of observes. Only seven teams kept 10 blockers, though that is where New England’s contingent stands after the Reiff move. The Pats needed to use this depth early. Calvin Anderson, who came off the Pats’ reserve/non-football illness list late in the preseason, started at right tackle in Week 1. Guards Cole Strange and Michael Onwenu were out, moving fourth- and fifth-round rookies — Sidy Sow, Atonio Mafi — into the lineup. Onwenu and Strange have each logged two limited practices this week, though both Sow and left tackle Trent Brown suffered concussions in the opener, leaving their Week 2 statuses in doubt.
  • The Commanders, Packers and Vikings each restructured an O-line deal recently. Washington created $6MM in cap space by moving $7.5MM of Charles Leno‘s base salary into a signing bonus and adding three void years, per the Washington Post’s Nicki Jhabvala. Green Bay topped that by adding four void years to Yosh Nijman‘s deal, creating $2.54MM in cap space, ESPN’s Field Yates tweets. This proves interesting due to Nijman being on a second-round RFA tender; he is due to be a 2024 free agent. Minnesota added $9.99MM in space by restructuring Brian O’Neill‘s contract, per Yates.

Latest On Commanders’ OL Situation

The Commanders’ 2022 offensive line was one of the league’s most beleaguered position groups last year. The team dealt with multiple injuries throughout the season, handicapping a group that already was lacking in star talent. A good amount of turnover is expected from last year’s lineup, but is it nearly enough to not be a hindrance to quarterback Sam Howell‘s first season as a Day 1 starter?

In terms of turnover, Trai Turner, who started 12 games at guard last season, has departed as a free agent. Wes Schweitzer, who started six games at guard, is now on the Jets. Nick Martin and Chase Roullier have also made their way to free agency, and Andrew Norwell is soon set to join them. It was announced a little over a month ago that the team was waiting to release Norwell until he could pass a physical, but he’s still currently on the roster today.

In terms of new blood, the Commanders signed former Chiefs tackle Andrew Wylie, who followed new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy from Kansas City. The team also added former Giants interior lineman Nick Gates with the intent to play him at center. Washington did re-sign Tyler Larsen, who started eight games at center for the team last year. The loser of the starting battle between Gates and Larsen will become an experienced depth piece on the interior line. Additionally, the team used both a third- and a fourth-round draft pick to address the offensive line, bringing in rookie center Ricky Stromberg from Arkansas and rookie tackle Braeden Daniels from Utah. While both could project as long-term starters for the future, neither rookie seems to be a contender to make an impact this season.

With the offseason moves, we’re starting to see the line take shape. Left tackle Charles Leno is the only sure thing on the line. He’s a definitive starter and should produce at a consistent level. The Commanders spent too much money on Wylie for him not to start. It’s been a couple years since his best performances (he allowed nine sacks last year), but his starting experience for a Super Bowl-winning team is likely enough to cement him at right tackle.

Gates likewise is being paid at a starters’ rate, so he’s the odds-on favorite to take the starting job at center. In that case, it ends up being a smart move to have retained Larsen, since over the past two years, Gates has only appeared in 12 games. If Gates continues to struggle to stay on the field, Washington knows Larsen can step up. With the addition of Stromberg in the draft, the Commanders are certainly attempting to feel secure after a season that decimated their centers room.

Samuel Cosmi is an interesting piece in the line. He was drafted out of Texas in the second round two years ago as a top tackle prospect, and while he’s gotten some run there in Washington, he’s also filled in a bit at guard. With Wylie and Leno likely securing starting roles on the outside, Cosmi can either become a strong depth piece at tackle or continue working as a starter at guard.

The other guard spot seems fairly open. Saahdiq Charles is currently one of the top candidates for the starting role. In three years with the team, Charles has started eight games, but he’s not really expected to excel as a starting guard. His main competition for the position seems to be last year’s seventh-round pick Chris Paul. Paul only made his NFL debut when he started the season finale for the Commanders last year, but Rivera has heaped praise on the progress and abilities of the young man. If he continues to impress, he could push Charles for the starting spot opposite Cosmi.

So, did the Commanders piece together a line that their second-year passer can be confident behind? It’s almost certainly too soon to tell. There’s an argument to be made that they were able to increase the talent of their two-deep, but the biggest thing they could improve on to better their chances of success this year is just health.

Washington Extends Charles Leno

Charles Leno has certainly bounced back since the Bears released him in May, as he’s agreed to a new three-year deal with the Football Team worth $37.5MM, according to tweets from NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport.

Leno was a seventh-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft for the Bears and signed a four-year, $38MM extension in 2017. Leno was named an alternate for the 2019 Pro Bowl, but was released just two years later this past May.

After being released, the eight-year veteran signed a one-year deal with Washington worth $4MM. The prove-it contract was a worthwhile gamble as Leno’s new deal is his biggest yet in terms of annual value. Washington benefitted from the gamble, as well, as Leno earned the 3rd best pass blocking grade among all tackles in the league thus far this season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Whether Washington plans to stick with Taylor Heinicke or Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback next year or if they choose to draft a young star from the 2021 NFL Draft crop, the Football Team has locked down their blindside tackle for the next three years.

WFT To Sign Charles Leno

The Washington Football Team has agreed to sign former Bears left tackle Charles Leno (Twitter link via’s Ian Rapoport). Once finalized, it’ll be a one-year deal for $5MM.

The Bears cut Leno earlier this month after investing a second-round pick in tackle Teven Jenkins. Washington, meanwhile, chose Texas tackle Samuel Cosmi in Round 2. Cosmi may be the long-term solution at LT, but they’ll ease him into the role with Leno as the stopgap starter.

Washington hasn’t had a solid left tackle since things went south with Trent Williams. Leno isn’t on Williams’ level, but he has been an LT starter for the past six seasons, serving as Chicago’s blindside protector from 2015-20. Pro Football Focus graded Leno as a top-25 tackle in three of the past four seasons, including the 2020 season. He’s durable, too; Leno hasn’t missed a game since his rookie year.

The Broncos also had Leno on their radar as they look to replace the injured Ja’Wuan James. Now, they’ll consider other veterans such asBobby Massie, Dennis Kelly, Jermaine Eluemunor and Cameron Fleming.

Charles Leno On Broncos’ Radar

The Broncos are doing extensive research in their effort to fill Ja’Wuan James‘ right tackle post. Four veterans — Bobby Massie, Dennis Kelly, Jermaine Eluemunor and Cameron Fleming — have come up thus far. Each is set to visit the team.

Denver has also expressed interest in Charles Leno. The right tackle-needy team has spoken with the longtime Bears left tackle-turned-free agent about the sudden vacancy, according to’s John Keim (on Twitter). However, Leno’s goal at the moment is to catch on with a team and play left tackle, Keim adds. The Broncos signed Ryan Pope earlier Tuesday but remain in the market for a starter-level tackle.

[RELATED: Washington Hosts Charles Leno On Visit]

Leno worked as the Bears’ starting left tackle from 2015-20 and graded as a top-30 tackle, per Pro Football Focus, last season. But Chicago cut him shortly after drafting Teven Jenkins in the second round. Leno, 29, went through a Monday workout with Washington, and it sounds like he remains in play for a stopgap role. Washington also drafted a tackle in Round 2, Texas’ Samuel Cosmi, but Leno’s visit signals the team is hunting for a short-term fix at Trent Williams‘ former spot.

No left tackle vacancy exists in Denver, with Garett Bolles having turned his career around in 2020. Bolles signed an extension to stay with the Broncos last year. The Broncos may well have considered another left tackle-to-right tackle conversion, but timing scuttled it. Days before James went down, the Ravens took Alejandro Villanueva off the market. They are prepared to move the longtime Steelers left tackle to the right side, where he is ticketed to replace Orlando Brown Jr. Villanueva worked under Broncos O-line coach Mike Munchak for several years in Pittsburgh.

Four of Leno’s pro seasons took place when Broncos HC Vic Fangio worked as the Bears’ defensive coordinator. For now, however, Massie is the more realistic option to follow Fangio from Chicago to Denver. Other free agent options include Mitchell Schwartz, Ricky Wagner and 2020 Broncos spot starter Demar Dotson.

Washington To Host T Charles Leno On Visit

Days after the Bears released Charles Leno, the veteran left tackle will have an opportunity to catch on elsewhere. The Washington Football Team will host Leno on a visit Monday, John Keim of tweets.

In transition at left tackle for the past two years, with Trent Williams skipping the 2019 season and Washington trading the Pro Bowler away in 2020, the WFT did invest highly in this position in the draft. Washington chose Texas tackle Samuel Cosmi in Round 2, but the team appears to be in the market for a stopgap starter.

The Bears cut Leno earlier this week, doing so after they made a second-round tackle investment — Teven Jenkins — at the position. Washington passed on a tackle in the first round, selecting linebacker Jamin Davis instead. Cosmi may well profile as Williams’ true long-term successor, after the team shuffled a few players here over the past two seasons. But the Leno visit could signal Washington will view the ex-Longhorn as not being ready to step in to start the season.

Despite being a seventh-round pick, Leno has been a left tackle starter for the past six seasons. Chicago gave the former long-shot prospect an extension in 2017, and he served as the team’s blindside protector from 2015-20. Pro Football Focus graded Leno as a top-25 tackle in three of the past four years, including the 2020 season. Leno, 29, has not missed a game since his rookie season.

The Bears, however, have cut both their longtime bookends — Leno and Bobby Massie — and are starting over at the position. Jenkins may well be expected to start in Week 1; Cosmi may play a second-string role to begin his career. Washington has longtime right tackle Morgan Moses in place, but the team will see about pairing him with an experienced left tackle.

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.

Bears Restructure Charles Leno’s Contract

The Bears have converted $7MM of offensive tackle Charles Leno’s base salary into a signing bonus, according to Field Yates of (on Twitter). With that, the Bears have created $5.6MM in cap space, giving them flexibility as veterans get chopped from rosters around the NFL. The revision will also give the Bears $2.8MM in extra breathing room for 2020 and 2021. 

Leno, a 2014 seventh-rounder, inked a four year, $37MM extension with the Bears prior to the 2017 season. Over the course of his five-year NFL career, the 27-year-old (28 in October) has started in all 61 of his contests.

In other Bears news, the club waived Elliott Fry earlier this week, leaving Eddy Pineiro as the last remaining kicker on the roster.

Bears To Extend LT Charles Leno Jr.

The Bears and left tackle Charles Leno Jr. are closing in on four-year, $38MM extension, Mike Garafolo of tweets. The deal includes $21.5MM in guarantees. "<strong

[RELATED: Bears Sign LB Kelvin Sheppard]

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.

NFC Notes: Giants, Saints, Bears, Vikings

Veteran signal-caller Josh Johnson is likely to emerge as the Giants‘ backup quarterback in 2017, which means free agent signee Geno Smith is in danger of being released, according to Jordan Raanan of Johnson spent the entire 2016 campaign with Big Blue, and though he was only for two games, he earned the trust of Giants’ coaches. New York, meanwhile, would only incur $325K in dead money by parting ways with Smith. Third-round pick Davis Webb, of course, is slated to open the season as the Giants’ third-string quarterback.

  • The Saints have now signed every member of their 2017 draft class aside from first-round offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk, and the Wisconsin product’s deal is on hold until he can pass a physical, reports Nick Underhill of the Advocate (Twitter links). Ramczyk, the 32nd overall selection, is dealing with a hip issue. New Orleans had been one of two clubs (along with the Rams) that hadn’t signed a draft pick before yesterday, and the reason for that delay was fiscal. The Saints picked up $7.8MM in cap space Thursday when Jairus Byrd‘s post-June 1 release was officially processed, giving the team a bit more breathing room to sign its rookies.
  • While the Bears “would like nothing more” than to extend left tackle Charles Leno, it’s unclear if Chicago plans to open contract talks before the season gets underway, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. Leno, 25, is certainly a success story, as the former seventh-round pick has started 32 games for the Bears over the past two seasons. He’s steadily improved, as well, and last year graded as the No. 41 tackle among 78 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. Chicago will get a relative bargain on Leno in 2017, as he’s due a base salary of only $1.797MM. A long-term deal could easily take Leno over the $10MM per year barrier, if not higher.
  • Michael Floyd‘s one-year deal with the Vikings doesn’t contain any guaranteed money, but the veteran wideout can earn a pay bump through several incentives, as Ben Goessling of details. If Floyd maxes out his incentive-based by reaching 70 catches, 1,000 yards, or 12 touchdowns, he’ll bring in an extra $4.6MM. The bonuses start at $1.5MM, which Floyd can earn by hitting 40 receptions, 500 yards, or six touchdowns. None of that incentive money is on Minnesota’s salary cap for now, as it’s all considered “not likely to be earned” because Floyd didn’t reach even the lowest thresholds in 2016. Additionally, Floyd could struggle to hit the top rung of his incentive ladder given that he’s expected to face a suspension in 2017.