The Las Vegas Raiders have pulled off a lot of surprises this offseason but perhaps the biggest was how quickly Alex Leatherwood fell out of favor with the new coaching staff. After just being a year removed from getting drafted in the first round, the team waived him. It was an odd decision considering the new coaching staff didn’t give him a chance to try and develop his skill.
Luckily for the Raiders, Leatherwood was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Bears so now they’re on the hook for the rest of his contract. It remains to be seen if the former Alabama standout can play. Las Vegas wanted him to be a right tackle but his future could be at guard. Since the Bears don’t have as big of an investment in him, they may be more flexible and patient with him.
Leatherwood won’t likely ever be a star but he’s only played one season. He has plenty of time to improve. He can’t be thrilled with how things played out but he recently had a chance to discuss what happened with the Raiders but decided to take the high road and speak on his future with the Bears.
“It’s a new opportunity,” Leatherwood said, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I feel like what they have going on here is great. I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Bears GM Ryan Poles Talks Leatherwood Addition
The Bears can afford to be more patient than the Raiders because they are in rebuilding mode. They have a young quarterback, a new general manager and a new head coach. Chicago is a good landing spot for Leatherwood as he’ll have a lot less pressure on him now. General manager Ryan Poles made it clear that they are letting the offensive lineman start off with a clean slate.
He’s a talented player and physically gifted for sure,” Poles said “Prototypical in his size and movement. I think we all believe in player development here.
”Forget (where he was picked in the draft). That’s over. … We’ll put him in the best position to succeed. We’ll give it everything we’ve got.”
One thing to watch will be how the Bears decide to use him. Leatherwood failed at right tackle so there’s been talk that he should play guard. Chicago isn’t ready to make that call yet.
“Wherever he settles in, that’s what we’ll do,” Poles said. “I trust the coaches to have a process for that.”
Derek Carr Talks Offensive Line
Cutting Leatherwood doesn’t make the Raiders’ offensive line any better. The group is still a major concern for the team. Las Vegas is loaded with great weapons but it’ll be hard for them to have any kind of vertical passing game if quarterback Derek Carr is constantly running for his life. While many are concerned about the offensive line, Carr isn’t losing sleep over it yet.
“I’ve always had that confidence of just that trust. When it’s been really good or sometimes when it’s been tough,” Carr said Wednesday. “I know that, no matter what that is, I have a job to do. To move the football and things like that.”