The Brady effect has started already and it is strong. Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen was poised for quite the pay day on the free agent market this week, but, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Jensen has agreed to a three-year, $39MM deal returning him to Tampa Bay.
Drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Jensen was released, signed to the practice squad, and then eventually promoted to full-time starter over the first four years of his career. After one season as the starting center in Baltimore, Jensen signed a four-year, $42MM contract with the Buccaneers that made him the highest-paid center in the NFL at the time. The new deal makes Jensen the second-highest-paid center in the NFL now behind only Frank Ragnow, who averages $13.5MM per year. Jensen’s new contract has a guaranteed amount of $23MM at signing, with a potential $3.3MM of incentives.
Jensen’s efforts in Tampa Bay last year were rewarded with a Pro Bowl appearance. He didn’t have his best season according to Pro Football Focus, who graded him out as the league’s 14th-best center. But Jensen hasn’t missed a game in five straight seasons and he should be able to replace the leadership on the offensive line lost with the retirement of Ali Marpet. Who knows? The return of Jensen and quarterback Tom Brady may have some influence in bringing back right guard Alex Cappa, set to hit free agency this week, and maybe even Marpet, who retired at 28-years-old.
Regardless of what else may come in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers and Brady will be happy to see the return of their Pro Bowl center. Center-quarterback chemistry is an important dynamic on an NFL offense and, some may remember, Jensen already knows just the right techniques to keep his butt sweat-free, just the way his quarterback prefers it.