Former Raiders 1st-Round Pick Quickly Lands With NFC Team

alex leatherwood

Getty Alex Leatherwood blocking for Derek Carr.

One of the most notable moves around the NFL on roster cut day was the Las Vegas Raiders waiving 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood. The team was trying to trade him but couldn’t find a partner. With a trade not materializing, it seemed like the Raiders would just keep him around as a backup and hope he developed. That wasn’t the case as the team let him go and was prepared to eat the rest of his guarantees.

Luckily for the Raiders, another team bailed them out. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Chicago Bears claimed Leatherwood off waivers.

While the Bears won’t have to take on all of Leatherwood’s guarantees, they do help the Raiders save $5.9 million.

This is good news for the Raiders as they now get to save some money, which could help sign other players in the coming weeks. The team owes the Bears some thanks for bailing them out.

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A Fresh Start for Leatherwood

It’s certainly notable when a first-round pick doesn’t even get a second year with a team and it has nothing to do with injuries. Leatherwood will have to live with his status as a first-round bust for the rest of his career. He’s fortunate to get a fresh start this early. He no longer will have the pressure that comes with being a first-round pick.

Going to the Bears, the expectations for Leatherwood will be quite low. Even just making the team would be a step in the right direction. Chicago is also a rebuilding team with a new head coach and front office. He doesn’t need to be a superstar in his first season like the Raiders needed him to be. He’ll have time to develop and fix the issues with his game. What will be interesting to watch is if the Bears see him as a tackle or a guard.

Raiders Now Have More Money for Darren Waller Contract

The Raiders don’t save a ton of money this season with Leatherwood getting claimed but they do open up a bit more salary cap space. That’ll help as the team is currently figuring out the next steps with star tight end Darren Waller. He just hired Drew Rosenhaus as his agent after moving on from Klutch Sports.

Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that “the hope is to get this deal done as soon as possible.”

The Raiders should have more than enough cap space to make a deal work this season. The only concern with Waller is that he’s going to be 30 soon and is coming off an injury-plagued season. Now, would he have missed as many games last season if he had a big contract? It’s certainly possible. While Waller would have a ton of suitors on the trade market if the two sides can’t agree on a contract, the Raiders should be highly motivated to keep him on the team.

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