Selecting a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft hasn’t bought extended tenures for coaches and general managers of late, but the decision to release Charles Leno Jr. could be a hint that Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are on stable ground.
There is no way around it. The Bears would be better in 2021 with Leno on the team. He is an average left tackle, but average is good enough to prevent either Andy Dalton or Justin Fields from being buried in the ground. Leno bounced back from a rough start in 2019 and has been inarguably the team’s most consistent offensive lineman since. While he isn’t known for his ability to push the pile, the Bears averaged six yards per carry running behind Leno in 2020, according to Sharp Football Statistics.
2014 7th round draft pick 👉🏾 93 consecutive starts in the past 7 seasons with the team that I was drafted to.
My time in Chicago has officially come to an end. It’s a bittersweet day but I am excited to see where this next chapter takes me. pic.twitter.com/XJbJbop1kD
— Charles Leno Jr (@charleslenojr72) May 3, 2021
The Bears generally seem to agree that Leno was at least decent at his job or they wouldn’t have waited until after the draft to move on. Outside of a push for one of the league’s best in Trent Williams, we had no real evidence that the Bears were displeased with Leno. If they hadn’t moved up for a tackle, it seems they would’ve been just fine proceeding with him.