Bears releasing Charles Leno, Teven Jenkins could be future at LT

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Adam Hoge
·2 min read
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Bears releasing Charles Leno originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Just three days after drafting Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins, the Bears made a quick move to release longtime starting left tackle Charles Leno Jr. Monday.

Leno confirmed the move on Twitter.

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Releasing Leno frees up about $6.2 million in salary cap space and it could be up $9 million if he’s designated as a post-June 1 cut, which seems likely. That space will help the Bears sign their 2021 draft class and help them add another key veteran or two if necessary. 

Still, the quick move is somewhat surprising and a strong indication the Bears believe Jenkins, who made 74 percent of his college starts at right tackle, can be a quick starter on the left side. They also drafted Missouri offensive tackle Larry Borom in the fifth round and he could be a quick contributor on the right side. Veteran Germain Ifedi was re-signed on a one-year, $4.25 million deal in the offseason and he played very well at the end of last season at right tackle, only allowing one sack in the final six games of the season. 

Leno was a seventh round pick out of Boise State in 2014 who took over as the starting left tackle for Jermon Bushrod early in the 2015 season. From that point on, he never missed a game, starting 93 straight games for the Bears over the last six seasons. In 2017, Leno was rewarded with a four-year, $37 million contract extension. 2021 was the final year of that extension, but Leno became a cap casualty once the Bears drafted Jenkins Friday.

While frequently criticized by fans and media, Leno gave the Bears a dependable, value left tackle over the last six seasons and was one of the better draft picks for the organization in the last decade. 

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