Ian Rappaport has just reported that the Bears will release longtime left tackle Charles Leno. This appears to be a salary cap driven move, but maybe not.
Leno was ranked #32 in overall blocking grade by PFF in 2020, and #23 in pass blocking.
Washington’s Cornelius Lucas, considered by many to be a journeyman right tackle, graded out 23rd overall and 14th(t) in pass blocking.
Leno was scheduled to make $8.9m in 2021; Lucas is scheduled to collect around $1.6m.
The two players are the same age.
Along with the #Bears drafting future LT Teven Jenkins, Chicago also took OL Larry Borom in the 5th. In a year where everyone is tight against the cap and forced to make tough financial decisions, the Bears save $9M with this move. It will be a post-June 1 cut. https://t.co/2yCxjTi1yI
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 3, 2021
It would appear that Lucas will be an unrestricted free agent this week. That means that any team in the league can sign him to a contract immediately. On paper, I think most NFL fans would see Leno as a huge upgrade to Cornelius Lucas.
Washington, of course, just drafted Samuel Cosmi as their left tackle of the future. How soon he takes over that role remains to be seen, but it might not hurt Cosmi to spend a year as the swing tackle, improving his functional strength and technique.