How will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers transfer ahead with out their beginning middle?


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had been dealt a devastating blow through the first week of training camp, as middle Ryan Jensen suffered what’s believed to be a serious knee damage, sources inform Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network. The Bucs will conduct additional exams to verify Jensen’s medical outlook, however the staff seems to be bracing for the worst.

Buccaneers C Ryan Jensen suffers critical knee damage

Jensen injured his left leg throughout Thursday’s observe session, and the scenario instantly seemed critical. The veteran middle slammed his helmet to the bottom, and the whole Tampa Bay squad gathered round him earlier than he was carted to the locker room.

Jensen, who spent the primary 4 years of his profession with the Ravens earlier than becoming a member of the Buccaneers in 2018, is the definition of an NFL iron man. He hasn’t missed a single sport — and has barely been off the sphere for a snap — since changing into a full-time participant in 2017.

That degree of availability, together with Jensen’s standout manufacturing, is why Tampa Bay made the 31-year-old a precedence when the free agent market opened earlier this yr. Jensen was linked to the Bengals, Jaguars, and Jets earlier than he formally grew to become a free agent. But, he re-signed with the Buccaneers on a three-year, $39 million deal simply hours after Tom Brady introduced he was ending his retirement.

Tampa is already coping with offensive line turnover, so Jensen’s stabilizing presence was set to be important. The Buccaneers are integrating commerce acquisition Shaq Mason at proper guard and looking for a successor to Ali Marpet at left guard. Aaron Stinnie, who’s been with the Bucs since 2019, is the main contender to fill Marpet’s function, however 2021 third-round choose Robert Hainsey and rookie second-rounder Luke Goedeke are additionally in competition.

How Tampa Bay can change Jensen

Hainsey stepped in for Jensen when he went down in observe, indicating the 23-year-old is subsequent in line at middle. A top-ranked highschool recruit earlier than he attended Notre Dame, Hainsey was viewed as a solid run-blocking prospect when he entered the 2021 NFL Draft. In his rookie marketing campaign with the Buccaneers, he appeared in 9 video games, however he performed extra snaps on particular groups (35) than on offense (31).

Hainsey will get the primary crack to interchange Jensen, and Goedeke can play center too. But when Brady desires a extra skilled middle snapping him the ball, Tampa might look to the free agent or commerce markets.

JC Tretter is the best free agent center available, and he’d make sense for a veteran-laden Buccaneers roster. He has the veteran expertise required to transition to a brand new offense seamlessly, and he’d be capable of adapt to his environment rapidly. Like Jensen, Tretter is at all times obtainable — he’s missed one sport since 2017, and that was as a result of COVID. Different free agent facilities that might get a glance from Tampa Bay embody Trey Hopkins, Matt Paradis, and Billy Value.

If the Bucs are keen to make a commerce, different choices ought to be obtainable. Graham Glasgow is competing for a beginning guard function with the Broncos, however he’s spent loads of time at middle. After transforming his contract earlier this yr, he’s solely due a $3.1 million base wage.

Elsewhere, the Dolphins’ Michael Deiter is out of a job after Miami signed Connor Williams to play middle, however Tampa could not view Deiter as an enchancment over Hainsey.

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