Commanders Release Leno and Thomas

The Commanders made two expected releases today as they begin their rebuilding process by letting go of veteran left tackle Charles Leno and tight end Logan Thomas. The moves will save the Commanders $13.8 million against the cap, bringing the team to about $90 million in cap room for 2024, the 2nd most in the NFL behind only the Patriots.

Leno had one of the greatest careers for a player selected in the 7th round of the NFL draft. Leno began his career with the Bears in 2014 and became their starting tackle in 2015. He earned a $9.25 million per year extension with the Bears back in 2017, completing all but one year of that contract when he was released in 2021. Leno latched on with the Commanders where he held the starting job for three seasons and was rewarded with a $12.5 million per year contract extension in 2022.

Leno was set to count for $15.53 million on the Commanders salary cap. He will leave the team with $8.25 million in dead money for now and that number should grow slightly by the start of the season. Leno was injured towards the end of the season and should qualify for the injury protection benefit in 2024 and 2025. That amount will be $2.05 million in 2024 with $1.23 million counting on the salary cap. In 2025 it should be around $600,000.

Thomas had just completed his 10th year in the NFL in 2023 and his fourth with the Commanders. Thomas bounced around the NFL for years with pitstops in Arizona, Miami, Detroit, Buffalo, and New York before finding his place with Washington. The Commanders signed Thomas to a two year, $6.14 million contract as a free agent in 2020 and he responded with a great year where he had 670 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. Washington quickly signed him to a three year extension worth slightly more than $8 million a season but Thomas was already 30 and had trouble staying healthy and recapturing that impact from that 2020 season.

Thomas was set to count for $8.29 million on the salary cap and will cost just $1.75 million in dead money, a savings of $6.54 million. Thomas may also be injury protection eligible as he failed his exit physical when released. If so he would have the same added cap charges as Leno. The Commanders are fifth in the NFL with $21.9M in dead money in 2024.