Leno signed a one-year deal worth $5 million. He started 93 consecutive games at left tackle for the Chicago Bears, who released him earlier this month after trading up in the second round to draft Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins. Leno, who played in the Pro Bowl in 2018, visited Washington on Monday.
Washington coach Ron Rivera has said repeatedly that he wanted to build a strong offensive line to pair with a defensive front that already is in that category. Rivera also has said he wants more depth and competition.
Leno is the third key player Washington has added to its line in recent weeks. It traded with the Miami Dolphins for guard Ereck Flowers, bolstering the interior depth, and drafted tackle Samuel Cosmi in the second round. Leno opted to negotiate with Washington rather than the Broncos because Denver wanted him at right tackle after Ja’Wuan James suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in an off-site workout. Leno wanted to stay on the left side.
Washington also has right tackle Morgan Moses, who has started every game since 2015. If Washington wants Cosmi to move to the right side, at least in his first year, it could release Moses and save $7.75 million vs. the salary cap. Or Cosmi could serve as a swing tackle or even play guard. Washington also has other backup tackles such as Cornelius Lucas and Geron Christian, who combined to start 14 games at left tackle in 2020.