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NFL roster cuts: Bears claim Alex Leatherwood

Chicago does the Raiders a favor.

New England Patriots v Las Vegas Raiders
Alex Leatherwood
Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

It certainly doesn’t completely soothe the loss of value, but the Chicago Bears did do the Las Vegas Raiders a favor on Tuesday when they claimed offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood on waivers.

The Raiders, of course, made one of the biggest headlines of the roster-cutdown moves Tuesday by waiving Leatherwood. It’s not every season that the No. 17 overall draft pick from the previous year gets cut. But Leatherwood, who started all season as a rookie at right tackle and guard, struggled badly this preseason and the new regime decided to part ways with the Alabama product immediately.

Because the Bears claimed Leatherwood, they assume the rest of his contract and it will save the Raiders $5.9 million in dead salary-cap room. But the Raiders still have a big chunk of dead money on this deal and will, in the end, pay close to 60 percent of Leatherwood’s deal. They also, of course, have to live with the reality that last year’s No. 17 pick was essentially wasted by the previous regime.

But it could have been worse and the Bears softened the blow. Now, the Bears will try to salvage Leatherwood’s career. He will have some comfort level there. Raiders coach Josh McDaniels wished Leatherwood the best in his presser Wednesday.

No other Las Vegas player cut on Tuesday was claimed by another team and the Raiders did not claim any players. They can sign released players and unclaimed waived players at any time with the offensive line being a likely targeted area. Later, McDaniels said he doesn’t anticipate adding a ninth offensive lineman at the moment. The Raiders can also start adding to the practice squad now.