The Cincinnati Bengals have been linked to Tampa Bay Bucs center Ryan Jensen for quite a while now. At least, as far as offseason time goes. He would be the kind of rough and tough offensive lineman coach Frank Pollack is looking to add this offseason.
However, some recent rumors may have Jensen priced out of the Bengals range. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler noted that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens have also shown interest in the veteran center. Also, Fowler adds that Jensen could command $15 million a season, which is a very rich number. That would make the soon-to-be 31-year-old one of the highest paid centers depending on how it gets structured.
It has previously been speculated that Jensen would run around the $13 million a year range, but supply and demand really raises the price when just about every team can afford to upgrade their offensive line.
There are two questions that come up now. The first is whether Cincinnati will be willing to pay that much for Jensen who may not be that much of an upgrade over Trey Hopkins. The second question, if they aren’t willing to, would Jensen be willing to take a few million less to come to the Bengals and be part of a young established team fresh off a Super Bowl appearance.
Jensen is a former Raven. He started his career there, then spent the last few seasons with the Bucs and won a ring two seasons ago when Tom Brady came to town.
No one is here to compare Joe Burrow directly to Brady, but there have been players who have noted similarities. It is likely some of that plays a decision on whether Jensen is willing to take less from a team that isn’t like the Steelers, Jets or Jags type that will pay top dollar but won’t likely compete the next few seasons.
If the Bengals don’t land Jensen they may end up having to just try and put two talented guards around Hopkins, which would help his performance greatly. Hopkins has always dealt with being next to a weak link either side of him depending on the season. Not having to worry about the guy next to you certainly opens things up for Hopkins.
As with rumors at this point in the offseason, we won’t know how true they are until something concrete comes out from the players or teams during the legal tampering period. It does make it more interesting to see where Jensen lands with the price potentially going up and others in the AFC North jockeying for him as well.