Chicago Bears to Extend LT Charles Leno
By Jesse Tamayo
The Bears locked down their starting left tackle for the next four seasons
Today it was reported by Brad Biggs that former seventh round pick Charles Leno Jr. signed a contract extension with the Chicago Bears. Leno was in the final year of his contract and would have been a free agent after the season. The terms of the contract is said to be a four year extension worth $38 million with $21.5 million in guarantees.
This extension would mean that Leno would earn about $10 million a year. For comparison purposes the highest paid tackle is Trent Williams of the Redskins who earns $13.6 million a year.
Leno has made significant improvements to his technique and according to Pro Football Focus has increased his point value from 46.1 to 70.4 from the 2015 to the 2016 season. One significant item Leno brings to the table is his durability at the position. He has started 29 straight games at left tackle which is very important when considering the injuries to guards Kyle Long and Eric Kush and last years season ending injury to center Hroniss Grasu.
Leno is not without his detractors. According to John Jurkovic, of ESPN 1000, Carmen and Jurko show, Leno is a “revolving door” at left tackle and “his pass protection leaves a lot to be desired.”
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This extension allows the Bears to lock down an ascending player who they have developed themselves. In the future it also gives the Bears added flexibility in the 2018 NFL draft. The 2017 draft was considered one of the worst drafts in recent history at the offensive line position while the 2018 draft is said to be much deeper.
With this extension done now the Bears and Leno can focus on football without the added distractions of impending free agency.