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Bears LT Charles Leno restructures contract to create salary-cap space

The Bears continue to adjust their cap space with some big extensions likely coming soon.

Charles Leno agreed to a contract restructure Wednesday.
[Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times]

As the Bears try to set up a sustainable, long-term contender, they continue to get cooperation from players when it comes to the salary cap.

Pro Bowl left tackle Charles Leno agreed to restructure his contract, with $7 million of his base salary converted into a signing bonus to create $5.6 million in cap space for the Bears, sources confirmed.

Leno, 27, remains signed through 2021.

His move could be a precursor to the Bears taking care of left guard Cody Whitehair, a likely candidate for an extension before the season. He made the Pro Bowl last season and is heading into the final year of his rookie contract with a cap hit of $1.3 million.

“Obviously Cody is an important player for us,” general manager Ryan Pace said when asked last month whether he was next up for a new deal. “When we talk about our culture and we talk about unselfish and great teammates, Cody embodies all those things.

“You guys know as we get into these extensions, they remain internal. But Cody’s an important part of this.”

Longtime right guard Kyle Long also restructured in February, agreeing to a shorter contract that freed up cap space for this year.

The Bears worked out a restructuring with Khalil Mack, as well, and converted some of his base salary into a signing bonus in February to open up $11 million in cap space.

ESPN first reported Leno’s restructuring.