The Chicago Bears were one of the NFL's most active teams on draft weekend, trading up in both the first round and the second round to land their players of choice. On Monday, they continued their activity, making a roster move that could have ramifications for the players they selected at both of those spots.
Longtime left tackle Charles Leno Jr., the team's seventh-round pick in 2014, announced on Twitter that his time with the Bears has come to an end. Leno became the team's blind-side starter a few games into his second NFL season, and started all 16 games in each of the last five years.
The Bears will reportedly designate Leno a post-June 1 release, saving them $10 million against the cap in 2021. However, moving on from Leno seemingly leaves the team without a left tackle. Second-round pick Teven Jenkins played mostly on the right side in college, and was there for all but 33 snaps in 2020.
Releasing Leno seemingly indicates that Jenkins will be moving back over to the left side of the line, where he played on occasion in 2018 (22.4 percent of his snaps, per Pro Football Focus) and 2019 (26.2 percent). At 33 1/2 inches, Jenkins' arms are a little bit shorter than teams typically like to see from their left tackle prospects, so it's interesting to see that the Bears might be preparing to move him back over there, where he'll be responsible for protecting Justin Fields' blind side when he takes over as starting quarterback. Meanwhile, either Elijah Wilkinson or Germain Ifedi seems likely to take over at right tackle.
Perhaps the Bears will keep Fields on the sideline behind Andy Dalton until they can upgrade the rest of the line, but given the amount of resources they invested in him (including the cost to trade up), that plan seems unlikely to last all that long. Hopefully for his sake, they can find a way to upgrade the line in front of him, whether in free agency or via trade.