Chicago Bears End of season evaluation: Cre’Von LeBlanc

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 12: Akiem Hicks
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 12: Akiem Hicks /

How did Cre’Von LeBlanc’s 2017 play out compared to expectations

With the Chicago Bears season now over, it is a good chance to see who met or exceeded or failed to meet expectations in 2017. For this edition, we take a look at Cre’Von LeBlanc.

Preseason Expectations:

LeBlanc entered training camp in a direct battle with Bryce Callahan for starting slot duties. The two went back and forth all training camp. The idea was that Callahan would end up starting in the slot, but he had no firm grip on that job. It would not have been a surprise to see LeBlanc find his way into the starting lineup.

2017 Review:

Callahan started through the first seven weeks, leaving LeBlanc as a special teams asset. However, in Week 8, injury wound up sending LeBlanc into action. Over the next five weeks, LeBlanc held down starting slot opportunities, averaging 39 snaps per game over that stretch. When he played, LeBlanc held his own. He rushed off of the edge well and showed instincts and athleticism to break on passes and knock them down. He made a case to start moving forward, but the team went back to Callahan when healthy. LeBlanc played well, but not enough for injury to cost him his job.

Offseason outlook

This offseason will be telling as to how much the team trusts Callahan over LeBlanc. LeBlanc is signed on for 2018, but that is the last year of his contract. However, Callahan is a restricted free agent in 2018. While LeBlanc played well in his time, Callan finished the year by never giving LeBlanc a chance to get back on the field. In fact, Pro Football Focus rated him as the top cornerback on the team. PFF is a great resource, but those grades are subjective. There is no real way that Callahan is better than Kyle Fuller.

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Still, he has been good enough to warrant the team wanting to bring him back. The question then becomes if Callahan priced himself out of the Bears price range. The Bears have cap space but have plenty of needs outside of the slot. If the team thinks LeBlanc is not a huge downgrade, moving on from LeBlanc and spending that extra money on other positions of need, or helping to get Kyle Fuller that big extension. If Callahan is brought back, it is clear the team sees no real future in LeBlanc.