The 2022 NFL Free Agency period opens up in March and the Chicago Bears are a team that has some big needs to address. Among those needs is offensive line where General Manager Ryan Poles has hinted they will start building the roster from.
With the struggles of Sam Mustipher at center, the Bears could look to replace him and if they don’t move Cody Whitehair there, they could make a big splash there. And that splash would be Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen.
Ryan Jensen, C (30 years old)
Jensen has spent 8 seasons in the league, the first four with Baltimore and the previous four with Tampa Bay. In that span, he’s become one of the best centers in the league and brings a certain toughness to the offensive line that could help out the Bears.
He’s projected to be the top free agent center available and for a team that wants to build in the trenches, he would make sense for the Bears.
Ryan Jensen hasn’t missed a game in five years, and he’s been a good starting center for that entire run. The Buccaneers could run into some salary-cap issues this offseason with all of their free agents, so Jensen might be available for the taking. Much like the Chargers did with Corey Linsley last offseason, a team with a young quarterback would be wise to target Jensen.
Contract Projection via Pro Football Focus: Three years, $39 million ($24.5 million guaranteed)
Will the Bears be interested?
If the Bears want to spend big money this offseason, doing so to sure up the offensive line and protect Justin Fields would be smart. Center was a position that they struggled with last season and getting a Pro Bowl caliber type player would be a good start.
It would also allow Cody Whitehair to play guard and the Bears could then focus on where is a good fit for Larry Borom and Teven Jenkins. Jensen would be an anchor on the line with his mean, nasty play that sets the tone in the trenches. That’s an underrated aspect of his game that doesn’t always show up when building a team. He’d also bring a veteran presence to help protect a young quarterback.
Prediction: Signs with Cincinnati
Make sure to check out our Bears forum for the latest on the team.