Ex-Bears Cap Casualty Cashes in Big With New Team

Charles Leno Jr.

Getty Ex-Bears tackle Charles Leno Jr. just signed a 3-year extension with WFT.

Charles Leno Jr. was a salary cap casualty for the Chicago Bears last year, and Chicago’s loss has clearly been the Washington Football Team’s gain.

Leno was a post-June 1 cut for the Bears last year. The team cleared $9 million in salary-cap space with the move, and it came after Chicago had moved up to select tackle Teven Jenkins in the second round of the draft.

A seventh-round pick for the Bears out of Boise State in 2014, Leno has started 16 games in each of his last six seasons. He made 93 consecutive starts for Chicago, but the team didn’t value his durability enough to keep him around. He responded by having a solid season in 2021, starting every game and allowing 6.0 sacks, seven QB hits and 23 hurries in 655 pass-blocking snaps while earning a 79.9 overall grade from Pro Football Focus.

Now, Leno is cashing in.

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Leno Inks 3-Year Extension With WFT

With one game left on the regular season schedule, Leno signed a three-year, $37.5 million extension with Washington. The veteran o-lineman revealed with a chuckle that he learned his new deal became official while he was on diaper duty.

“It felt good,” Leno said about inking his new deal on January 7, via ABC 7 News. “Right when I figured out it was the number we agreed upon and all that. Well, it didn’t feel that good because I think I was having to change a diaper at that moment, it wasn’t the greatest moment but it’s all good,” he laughed.

His deal includes $18.5 million guaranteed, per Ben Standing of The Athletic, and he has earned every penny.

“Leno ranks 20th in PFF wins-above-replacement so far in 2021,” Brad Spielberger of PFF noted on January 6, also adding that Leno “has had a 70.0 or better pass blocking grade in every season since 2016 and played over 900 snaps in seven seasons straight.”

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Leno is Happy With His New Team

“I had Charles in Chicago as well,” fellow WFT tackle and ex-Bear Cornelius Lucas told The Washington Post about Leno. “He’s just an all-around pro, the same guy every day. … That’s someone you can look at and just clock your watch to each day, if that makes sense.”

“He’s progressed very well within our scheme,” WFT head coach Ron Rivera said about Leno in November, per The Athletic. “He’s a guy that works at it. … There really hasn’t been a lot of mention of him, so that’s a good thing. That’s a really good thing.”

“This is not something I anticipated when I first signed here. But there was something that I wanted to show,” Leno added after inking his extension. “I wanted to first and foremost show my ability, I wanted to show my availability, the availability as a player I am, the teammate I am and I wanted to show the community how I can make an impact.”

It’s clear his new team is happy with him, and it’s equally obvious he’s glad to be there.

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