The Chicago Bears are cutting their losses in an expensive way. Perhaps they should have learned from the Las Vegas Raiders braintrust?
On Sunday, the Bears announced that they are waiving offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood, per ESPN's Courtney Cronin. Throughout training camp, Leatherwood had been serving as the team's backup left guard behind Teven Jenkins.
Leatherwood could not stick on the Bears roster even with Jenkins suffering a leg injury that has jeopardized his availability for the regular season. Instead, the team opted to slide Cody Whitehair from center to left guard as a solution.
This is the second time Leatherwood has been cut in as many years. Originally drafted by the Raiders with the 17th pick in the 2021 draft, Leatherwood lasted just one season with the team. During his rookie year, he struggled mightily, starting the season at right tackle before being shifted inside to guard.
Turns out, that was an expensive mistake for Chicago. After cutting Leatherwood, the Bears will still owe him $4.6 million in guaranteed salary.
Being cut twice, as a first round pick no less, raises serious questions about Leatherwood's future in the NFL.
The Raiders taking Leatherwood with such a high pick immediately raised eyebrows around the league. Despite a decorated career at Alabama that culminated in a 2021 National Championship win, unanimous first-team All-America honors, and the Outland Trophy as college football's best interior lineman, many draft pundits pegged Leatherwood as a Day 2 prospect.
Now, the Bears will pay for not learning the hard lesson the Raiders did before them.