Bengals: Ryan Jensen could end up signing with rival team

Kristen Wong
Ryan Jensen (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Ryan Jensen (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Just days after Bucs’ Ryan Jensen was predicted to sign with the Cincinnati Bengals, new reports have him landing elsewhere.

Bengals offensive lineman coach wanted to add a glass-eater to the O-line this offseason, and Jensen fit the bill to a tee. The tough-as-nails center has stayed reliable and productive in his last four years at Tampa despite turning 31 this year and posting an average 70.3 overall PFF grade in 2021.

If the Bucs ultimately let him go, many teams will be vying for his services, and Cincinnati may not want to spend a huge portion of its cap space on an aging center.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler noted that Tampa was desperate to “get something done” with Jensen, and “if that costs $15 million per year—which it very well might—then that might be worth it.”

That could mean the Bucs hike up Jensen’s market value much higher than it currently is (roughly $10 million per year), and Cincinnati would end up paying top dollar for a short-term fix, not a long-term solution.

Cincinnati Bengals may no longer be favorite to sign Bucs’ Ryan Jensen in 2022

We’re not saying the Bengals should automatically bow out of a potential bidding war, but the team should invest in its offensive line with added caution this offseason.

Jensen already may not provide that much of an upgrade over current center Trey Hopkins, and depending on how high Jensen’s value skyrockets, Cincinnati could get two O-linemen for the price of one.

On top of all this, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers have also shown interest in the veteran center, and Baltimore arguably has an edge since Jensen played for the Ravens from 2014 to 2017.

In the wake of a Super Bowl-contending season, the Bengals need to spend money but also need to spend it wisely to keep the team competitive in 2022.

Next. 3 potential cap casualties the Bengals need to sign for 2022. dark

If that means letting a highly overpriced center join one of their AFC North rivals, so be it.