There I was at home, setting up to watch the All-Madden documentary on FOX that I DVR’d because I knew I’d miss it while out of town, and my phone buzzed.
An old friend was in the news. And for good reason, to boot:
The #WashingtonFootball Team and LT Charles Leno have agreed to a three-year, $37.5 million extension, sources tell me and @RapSheet. Released by the #Bears in May, Leno found a new home, played well and now cashes in for the second time in his career.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) January 6, 2022
Charles Leno Jr., who was the Bears’ primary starting left tackle from 2015-20, was getting a nice, fat extension from the Washington Football Team. NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo reports it is a three-year deal worth $37.5 million. Garafolo didn’t mention guarantees, but I imagine it will be a healthy amount after Leno went to Washington on a bargain basement deal. After Chicago cut Leno after the 2021 NFL Draft, he went on to sign a one-year deal worth $4 million ($3M in guarantees). So, yeah, I’d bet on the three-year pact being worth more financially this time around.
Had Leno reached free agency, he would’ve been one of the most highly sought-after left tackles on the market. Leno has started all 16 games for Washington’s football club this season. He has been in on 99 percent of the team’s offensive snaps and playing at a high level. Leno’s PFF grade ranks 18th among the leaderboard’s 82 qualifying tackles. That’s pretty good. And looking at his Pro Football Reference page, it is noteworthy that Leno has been called for just one false start (3 last year) and one holding penalty (4 last year). I would underscore how that represents improvement. Additionally, as a left tackle, Leno is part of a group that ESPN ranks ninth in Pass-Block Win Rate and is football’s best in Run-Block Win Rate. He’s gotta be doing something right if he is on a group that successful and getting an extension.
It turns out that Leno, a seventh-round pick from the Phil Emery era, has grown into something more than we would’ve bargained for on NFL Draft Weekend 2014.
It is a cruel irony that Washington signed Leno for stability during the offseason when Chicago certainly could’ve used it during the season. The Bears have seen Jason Peters, Larry Borom, Elijah Wilkinson, and Teven Jenkins play left tackle this season. Sure, the hope is that Jenkins will be the type of rock the Bears need at the position moving forward. But it stings a little knowing the Bears just let someone like that go.
Ah, well, nevertheless. Good for Leno.