The NFL waiver claim period concluded earlier on Wednesday and the Chicago Bears were busy working to improve their team. General manager Ryan Poles claimed six players off of waivers and headlining the list is former 2021 first-round tackle Alex Leatherwood.
The Bears claimed 6 players off of waivers:
OL Alex Leatherwood
DT Armani Watts
DB Josh Blackwell
DE Kingsley Johnathan
LB Sterling Weatherford
TE Trevin Wesco
No team added more players via waivers.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 31, 2022
Leatherwood was selected by the Las Vegas Raiders with the 17th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft out of Alabama. He was projected as a tackle, but moved inside to guard due to struggles on the outside. Leatherwood started all 17 regular season games for the Raiders in 2021, but wasn’t living up to expectations and struggled during this year’s preseason. The new regime in Las Vegas decided to cut ties early and put him on waivers before he started his second season.
The Bears chose to claim him, meaning they’re on the hook for his rookie contract that has $5.9 million left in guaranteed money. The claim opens the door for renewed competition for players like Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom, who appeared to have locked down the right guard and right tackle position in the preseason, respectively. Now with Leatherwood in the mix, all bets are off. Leatherwood is the second former first-round pick to join the offensive line, joining veteran Riley Reiff.
The news of Leatherwood joining the Bears was a surprise to many, with most expressing happiness over the move, while some are puzzled with the decision.
Okay, I’m definitely on board in the #Bears signing Alex Leatherwood off of waivers.
He struggled as a rookie, sure. But he’s a gifted athlete who could do some serious damage if he’s kicked inside to guard. Great high-upside add by Ryan Poles.
— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) August 31, 2022
I absolutely love this
23 year old who has struggled massively at tackle but I think the new regime will try him out at guard. Recent 1st round pick https://t.co/V5C0i45Afx
— DaWindyCity Productions (@dwcprodz) August 31, 2022
Leatherwood is a nice addition. Kicking him inside like they did with Teven would suit him better. Like how this interior is shaping up, there’s a quite a bit of potential there.
— BuffLlama (@JayDizzyD) August 31, 2022
The Raiders tried changing Alex Leatherwood instead of allowing him to play his natural position.
No brainer for the Bears to at least give him a shot at G, where he was nasty at Bama.
Low risk. High reward potential.
— Ryan Heckman (@TheRyanHeckman) August 31, 2022
Makes sense for the Bears to take a shot on Leatherwood. Let Chris Morgan get his hands on him and try and fix the pass pro issues. Now, taking on the contract is an entirely different issue. Odd move https://t.co/9InvlnEaBp
— Josh Schrock (@Schrock_And_Awe) August 31, 2022
— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) August 31, 2022
I stand corrected. Really surprised the Bears were willing to guarantee Leatherwood almost $6M. https://t.co/KL0xagyvpF
— Johnathan Wood (@Johnathan_Wood1) August 31, 2022
I was high on Leatherwood as a draft prospect in 2021. I really, really like this move by the #Bears. Sure, he didn't have a great rookie season, but offensive linemen often need some time to develop. His upside remains high.
— Bryan Perez (@BryanPerezNFL) August 31, 2022
Love the Bears' decision to claim Alex Leatherwood
He was probably a second/third round talent last year who was thrown into an unfair situation at the wrong position. He's not ready to play but they can develop him slowly, maybe eventually succeed Whitehair at guard
— Jeremy Layton (@JeremyLayt0n) August 31, 2022
Alex Leatherwood could be a nice reclamation project for #Bears offensive line coach Chris Morgan.
— Usayd (@usaydkoshul) August 31, 2022
I don't love that Alex Leatherwood comes with a first round contract, but he's certainly an intriguing prospect.
Hard to hate the upside on a move like this, but who's spot does he take? Does he line up as a starter Week One?
— Duke Coughlin (@ThatPodGuyDuke) August 31, 2022
So as I mentioned on the @IrishBearsShow last night, I like Leatherwood, but we discussed him being a better fit at guard. Things just got interesting considering the Jenkins situation #Bears https://t.co/Wr9il3GIeH
— Tony Daly (@Tony_Daly) August 31, 2022
Leatherwood is an all- time name for an o- lineman. Worth the claim just for that tbh pic.twitter.com/bXxSqNnHck
— Jeff Berckes (@gridironborn) August 31, 2022
The #Bears have the worst OL in the NFL and have the most cap space in the NFL over the coming years.
Alex Leatherwood is the EXACT type of risk they needed to take a chance on. Only his second year in the NFL and he won’t be forced on the field. Good time to develop.
— Brandon Robinson (@BRobNFL) August 31, 2022
Alex Leatherwood is really bad lmao like REAL bad lol lol the bears oline did not get better today #Chicagobears
— John B. (@coffeeistheway) August 31, 2022
I love the Bears taking a shot on Alex Leatherwood. Poles has made it clear offensive line is important. He struggled as a rookie but worth taking a chance on
— Matt Eurich (@MattEurich) August 31, 2022
There is a reason why Alex Leatherwood went in the first round.
Great signing by the #Bears.
— Blake Lewis (@blakelewis26) August 31, 2022
— Brandon (@brandonright0) August 31, 2022