The 2020 season is important for Chicago Bears offensive lineman Charles Leno Jr. If he struggles again he’ll find himself looking for a job elsewhere.
With all the craziness going on due to the Covid-19 virus, the 2020 season should be a crazy one for the Chicago Bears. There are a great number of players fighting for not only starting jobs but also roster spots. Fighting for a spot on the team is very difficult when you’re also fighting to stay healthy.
There are also players who need to play well in order to keep a job for next season. Such is the case for offensive lineman Charles Leno Jr.
Leno has been Bears fans’ favorite punching bag. He’s had his ups and downs since the team drafted him in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft. He’s had moments where he acted like a bullfighter letting the bull get through him and to the backfield. However, he also has a Pro Bowl under his belt.
In 2018, Leno had a fantastic season. He allowed just two pressures and committed no penalties. The penalties thing was big because the previous season he committed 13 penalties. The Pro Bowl was a well-earned honor.
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In 2019 though, Leno reverted. It felt as if pass rushers pressured quarterback Mitchell Trubisky on every play. Additionally, he committed more penalties in Week 1 than he did in all of 2018. He ended the season with 12 penalties and drew the fans’ ire once again.
Now, amid the virus, Leno faces the most important season in his career.
The Chicago Bears made a move that went under the radar. They signed former Green Bay Packer offensive tackle Jason Spriggs. Sure, Spriggs provides depth at tackle, but he just turned 26 years old, an age where he could start. There are other players who will compete with Spriggs, but the Bears likely feel that Spriggs is the best candidate to eventually start.
Leno needs to play big in 2020
Leno needs to come up big in 2020 or he’ll end up looking for a job elsewhere. The Bears, who have about $10.6 million in available cap space, can almost double that space by parting ways with him in 2021. As a June 1 cut designation, the Bears save $9 million in cap space. They’ll surely take that route if Leno struggles in 2020 and they have Spriggs.
Yes, Spriggs struggled himself with the Packers, but at his age, a change of scenery could be good for him. If Leno (or even Bobby Massie) struggle and Spriggs does well filling in, he’ll find himself with a new contract and a new job.
Leno turns 29 soon. He needs to show the Chicago Bears organization and the fans that 2018 wasn’t an aberration. If he doesn’t, then the fans get their wish to see him shipped out of Chicago.