Ryan Jensen

Buccaneers Activate C Ryan Jensen From IR

Just in time for tonight’s postseason game, the Buccaneers are receiving a significant boost to their offensive line. The team announced that center Ryan Jensen has been activated from IR, putting him in line to make his season debut against the Cowboys. In a corresponding move, special teamer J.J. Russell has been waived.

Jensen suffered a major knee injury in late July, and his availability for the season was immediately called into question. It was long presumed that he would be sidelined for the entire campaign, something which substantially compounded the Buccaneers’ issues along the interior of their o-line. The retirement of Ali Marpet and free agent departure of Alex Cappa left the team without any of their 2021 starters at guard or center throughout the 2022 campaign.

To little surprise, then, Tampa Bay struggled mightily on the ground this season. The Buccaneers finished dead last in rushing yards per game, averaging only 77 yards in that department. The absence of a balanced attack weighed down the team’s offensive consistency despite their success through the air (270 passing yards per game, second-most in the league). Jensen’s return, assuming he is able to play close to his Pro Bowl level, could go a long way towards solving that issue.

The 31-year-old has been a mainstay in the middle of Tampa’s offensive front since signing with the team as a free agent in 2018. He had yet to miss a game during his time with the Bucs prior to this summer’s injury, making him a dependable member of the team’s decorated offense. It remained uncertain for much of the campaign when (if at all) Jensen would be able to return this year, but a comeback was confirmed to be a distinct possibility last month when he returned to practice.

Uncertainty still remains at the left guard spot for Tampa Bay heading into the final contest of the wild-card round, but with Jensen expected to start, their offense will be better-positioned to pull off an upset over Dallas. This move leaves the Buccaneers with three IR activations remaining for the postseason.

Bucs C Ryan Jensen To Practice This Week

Given murky timetables since his unspecified training camp knee injury, Ryan Jensen is expected to resurface at Buccaneers practice this week. The team will designate the the veteran center for return, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The Bucs have since announced the return designation.

Jensen went down during a July 28 practice and was feared to be out for the season. That may still end up being the case, but the Bucs will see how the recently re-signed snapper looks in practice. It would certainly boost Tampa Bay’s scuffling offense to have its top interior O-lineman back, as not much has gone right for the team on that side of the ball this year.

While Jensen suffered the knee injury exactly five months ago, Stroud adds he did not undergo surgery. The ninth-year center’s timetable has been up for debate since. The Bucs carried Jensen through to their active roster after cutdown day and placed him on IR soon after. That would allow for a Jensen return from IR; he has been eligible to be activated since October. No activation will take place this week, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com tweets. Considering how long Jensen has been out, a ramp-up period — even if the Bucs are not yet a lock to make the playoffs — is logical.

Jensen, 31, was snapping the ball to Tom Brady before the Bucs’ Week 15 game against the Bengals, Stroud adds. Shortly after Brady’s decision to end his brief retirement, the Bucs began reassembling their team by signing Jensen to a three-year, $39MM deal. The other two starters on Tampa Bay’s interior O-line — Ali Marpet and Alex Cappa — were not part of the equation, with Marpet retiring and Cappa signing with Cincinnati. The team has experienced steady losses up front as well, leading to a wildly disappointing season on offense.

The Bucs lost first-string guard option Aaron Stinnie for the season in August and just placed swing tackle Josh Wells on IR. The Jensen injury moved guard Robert Hainsey to center, and second-round pick Luke Goedeke moved into the starting lineup. But the Bucs benched the rookie for veteran Nick Leverett. Tampa Bay is also uncertain either of its tackles — Donovan Smith and Tristan Wirfswill be in uniform for Sunday’s pivotal Panthers matchup.

Removing the Jensen-Marpet-Cappa trio from the mix has undoubtedly affected Brady’s performance, and it has made a major impact on Tampa Bay’s run game. The Bucs rank last in rushing in terms of total yards and yards per carry (3.4). The Bucs rank 28th in scoring, and Brady’s numbers have nosedived since he led the league in touchdown passes and passing yards in 2021. This has opened the door to the Bucs sitting at 7-8, still needing to do more to claim victory in perhaps the worst division in NFL history. The Bucs can clinch the NFC South title with a win in Week 17, but the team would not exactly generate much confidence going into the playoffs.

Jensen, who made his first Pro Bowl last season, would help supply some. Coming into this season, the former Ravens draftee had not missed a game since 2016. The former Division II product would have three weeks from Wednesday to be activated, giving the Bucs some time to gauge his readiness.

Latest On Ryan Jensen, Buccaneers’ Deadline Plans

A recent report indicated that Buccaneers offensive lineman Ryan Jensen could make his return as soon as next week. However, Greg Auman of The Athletic is throwing some cold water on that idea, writing that Jensen “has only a small chance of returning from his knee injury.”

[RELATED: Ryan Jensen November Return In Play?]

The veteran center suffered a knee injury during training camp that was initially feared to be season-ending. Subsequent reports provided a bit more optimism about his prospects of returning during the 2022 regular season or playoffs, and his IR placement reflected that sentiment. A few weeks ago, there were whispers that the Buccaneers were hoping Jensen would be back on the field at some point in November, with the team specifically targeting a November 6th return. The team’s Week 11 bye could also be a target return date, but now it’s sounding like we shouldn’t count on an imminent return.

Jensen, who has started all 65 of his appearances since joining Tampa Bay in 2018, would naturally provide a boost to Tampa Bay’s offensive line, although the unit has generally ranked among the top-1o through the first chunk of the season. Pro Football Focus has generally ranked Jensen among the best centers in the NFL, and the veteran earned his first career Pro Bowl nod in 2021.

Auman discussed Jensen’s potential return in the context of Tampa Bay making a trade to upgrade their offensive line. Second-round guard Luke Goedeke has struggled so far in 2022, and backup Nick Leverett doesn’t have much of a track record. Both Jensen and his current fill-in, Robert Hainsey, are under contract for next season. While the team could look for a temporary upgrade for Goedeke, Auman opines that the organization would be better off pursuing a rental before having Goedeke and Hainsey compete for one of the guard spots opposite Shaq Mason in 2023.

Who could fit that bill? For starters, Auman suggests the team could look to deal from a position of strength and pursue another team’s depth piece. The writer also points to someone like Commanders guard Andrew Norwell, who doesn’t have any guaranteed money owed beyond this season. Panthers guard Austin Corbett is also an affordable option, although he’s under contract for the 2023 campaign.

Ryan Jensen November Return In Play?

The knee injury Ryan Jensen suffered during training camp was initially rumored to be season-ending, but a subsequent report indicated the Buccaneers were holding out hope their center could return in the playoffs. Their IR management reflected that.

But Jensen now appears to have a chance to come back much earlier. The Bucs have a November Jensen return on their radar, Jason Cole of Outkick.com notes. A Jensen return as early as Nov. 6 is in play, according to Cole, but it might take a bit longer for conditioning purposes. The Bucs’ Week 11 bye could conceivably become a key date on Jensen’s timeline, but the team hopes he can return for its Nov. 6 Rams matchup.

A regular-season Jensen return would be important for a Bucs team that is one of a few NFC contenders to have displayed inconsistency to start this season. Although Pro Football Focus still rates Tampa Bay’s offensive line seventh after six weeks, Jensen would certainly be a welcome addition. The 31-year-old center has started for the past four Bucs editions. Coming into this season, the former Ravens draftee had never missed a game since signing with the Bucs in 2018.

The Bucs gave Jensen a three-year, $39MM deal to re-sign this year, doing so shortly after Tom Brady recommitted to the team following his brief retirement. Brady’s midgame address to his line in Pittsburgh drew attention, and this season has been an adjustment for the all-time great. The Bucs have been without Jensen and guard Aaron Stinnie, who is out for the year, and their offseason included Ali Marpet‘s retirement and Alex Cappa‘s free agency signing with the Bengals.

Tampa Bay did trade for Shaq Mason, however, and PFF rates Jensen fill-in Robert Hainsey as its sixth-best center thus far. That pedigree did not show up much in Pittsburgh, partially leading to Brady’s sideline speech. But the continuity Brady enjoyed during his first two Tampa seasons ended this offseason. The Bucs rank 20th in scoring and 21st in total offense. Their rushing attack sits last; Tampa Bay has topped 80 rushing yards in a game just once this season (Week 1).

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/1/22

Teams continue to tinker with their rosters after hundreds of players were cut earlier this week. We’ve tracked all of today’s minor moves below:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

NFC South Notes: Panthers, Bucs, Davidson

Matt Corral landed on the Panthers’ IR Tuesday, ending his rookie season before it started. The Lisfranc injury the third-round pick suffered will require surgery, Matt Rhule said. The Panthers had planned to carry Corral as their third-string quarterback during what was to be a developmental year, with the team wanting him to add muscle to his 205-pound frame and obviously learn a pro-style offense, per Joe Person of The Athletic. Because of Corral’s injury, the Panthers’ roster math may change. The team may no longer be preparing to carry three quarterbacks, Person notes (subscription required). This news would pertain to P.J. Walker, the former XFL 2.0 standout who has been Carolina’s backup the past two seasons. Walker, who has won both his regular-season starts but holds a career 51.6 passer rating, struggled in the Panthers’ second preseason game. The 27-year-old passer could be stashed on the practice squad — behind starter Baker Mayfield and backup Sam Darnold — if he clears waivers in the event of a cut before next week’s deadline.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • Shifting to the division’s most famous quarterback, Tom Brady is now back with the Buccaneers. The all-time great missed nearly two weeks of training camp. Family time has circulated as the reasoning behind Brady’s absence, which coincidentally occurred while the team held joint practices against the Dolphins, and Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com notes Brady and wife Gisele Bundchen spent time at an exclusive Bahamas resort. Not a bad arrangement, though not many players could swing such a mid-camp trip. Brady has not taken questions since the Dolphins scandal broke, but he is back practicing with the Bucs.
  • During Brady’s time away, the Bucs lost another potential O-line starter. Aaron Stinnie‘s ACL and MCL tears add to a lengthy list of changes to Tampa Bay’s interior O-line. Ali Marpet retired, Alex Cappa signed with the Bengals, and Ryan Jensen suffered what may be a season-ending injury. Jensen, however, may have a late-season return window. The Bucs are not planning to place their starting center on IR, with Albert Breer of SI.com noting the veteran blocker’s “complicated” injury could have him available for the playoffs. For now, the team will keep that door open. That would mean carrying Jensen onto the 53-man roster and then placing him on IR.
  • For now, the Bucs have 2021 third-round pick Robert Hainsey (31 offensive snaps last season) at center and would have either second-round rookie Luke Goedeke or former UDFA Nick Leverett (two career games; zero starts) at left guard opposite Shaq Mason. Goedeke would be the likely in-house solution, Greg Auman of The Athletic notes. Hainsey, who was working at guard earlier this offseason, is unlikely to be moved off his new center post, Auman adds. This would point to the Bucs, if they feel the need arises, looking at the guard market for a veteran. Ereck Flowers, Quinton Spain and James Carpenter are among the top options.
  • While the Bucs are not believed to be actively searching, the loss of two veteran blockers could be rather important in what could be Brady’s final season. The Ravens could be a trade option, Auman offers, holding a potential guard surplus featuring Tyre Phillips, Ben Cleveland and Ben Powers. The team is unlikely to keep all three.
  • Falcons defensive tackle Marlon Davidson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery recently, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes. The team had hoped Davidson, a 2020 second-round pick, would push Ta’Quon Graham to start opposite Grady Jarrett in the team’s 3-4 scheme. Graham, a 2021 fifth-rounder who started five games last season, is now in the lead. Despite his draft pedigree, Davidson has started just one game.

Latest On Buccaneers C Ryan Jensen

AUGUST 14: Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said there have not been more updates on Jensen because the swelling in his knee has not yet subsided. Bowles confirmed that Jensen may miss the entire 2022 campaign, and he added that the team should know more this week (Twitter link via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times).

AUGUST 13: There’s some hope that Ryan Jensen‘s season could be salvaged, and the Buccaneers will remain flexible and keep the door open for a late-season return. According to Greg Auman of The Athletic (on Twitter), the team won’t be placing Jensen on IR until after final cuts.

The Buccaneers could open a spot on their 90-man roster right now by placing the center on injured reserve. However, if Jensen was to be placed on IR now (or any time before final cuts), he wouldn’t be allowed to return for the 2022 campaign. Instead, the Buccaneers intend to keep him through final cuts and have him be a member of their initial 53-man roster. The team could then place Jensen on injured reserve and be allowed to activate him later in the campaign.

This may sound like minor roster machinations. However, it’s pretty telling that the Buccaneers are willing to wait to place Jensen on IR, and by doing so, they’re continuing to sacrifice a roster spot on a player who surely wouldn’t play for at least several months. Of course, Tampa Bay’s willingness to wait doesn’t definitively mean that Jensen will see the field during the 2022 campaign…rather, it keeps the door open.

Jensen suffered a severe injury in late July, and there was initial fear that he’d be out for the entire season. The Bucs just gave Jensen a second contract — a three-year, $39MM deal — to return as Tom Brady‘s center, and he was expected to provide some continuity to an offensive line that lost both Ali Marpet and Alex Cappa this offseason. Jensen has established himself as one of the NFL’s top centers, having evolved from sixth-round pick to a first-time Pro Bowler in 2021. Former offensive tackle Robert Hainsey is currently slotted in as Tampa’s starting center, but the team could add to the position before the start of the regular season.

Buccaneers Fear Season-Ending Knee Injury For C Ryan Jensen

JULY 29: The Bucs indeed fear Jensen will be out for the season, Rapoport adds. Todd Bowles confirmed Friday the team’s starting center will miss a significant amount of time (video links). The new Tampa Bay HC did not say Jensen would miss the entire season, mentioning a potential multi-month timeline.

The Bucs have already discussed bringing in a veteran, per Bowles, though the fourth-year Tampa Bay staffer said these discussions have not progressed too far just yet. Hainsey, a right tackle at Notre Dame who converted to the interior as a pro, is expected to receive the first crack at replacing Jensen, per Rapoport. Nick Leverett, a former UDFA who played in two games last season, is also in the mix.

JULY 28: A cart transported Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen off the practice field Thursday, and the team is concerned about a long-term absence. The Bucs fear the recently re-signed snapper suffered a serious injury, Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com report (on Twitter).

These reports indeed usually precede bad news for teams. The Bucs just gave Jensen a second contract — a three-year, $39MM deal — to return as Tom Brady‘s center. Tests are ongoing here, but a source informed ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter this situation is “not looking good” for the veteran blocker (Twitter link). Jensen is dealing with a major injury, per Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (on Twitter). His season is certainly in jeopardy.

Offensive line continuity played a big part in the Bucs’ surge to the Super Bowl LV championship, but the 2021 playoffs and this offseason have brought uncertainty to Tampa Bay’s front. This year has injected considerable O-line change, with longtime guard Ali Marpet retiring and the Bucs letting their other guard starter — Alex Cappa — defect to the Bengals in free agency. A Jensen absence would create a new issue for the Bucs, who will have the oldest primary starting quarterback in NFL history.

Jensen’s recommitment to the Bucs came just after Brady’s; the ninth-year center re-signed with the team hours after Brady’s unretirement. Jensen has established himself as one of the NFL’s top centers, having moved from sixth-round pick to using a contract-year springboard with the Ravens to a 2018 Bucs deal. On that pact, Jensen did not miss a game. The Colorado State-Pueblo alum has not missed a game since the 2016 season. Jensen, 31, made his first Pro Bowl last season.

Tampa Bay did trade a Day 3 pick to acquire Shaq Mason, reuniting Brady with one of his longtime Patriots guards. But the team could soon be vulnerable at two guard positions. With interior O-line play vital to Brady-led offenses, the Bucs could be in need of another veteran reinforcement. While it is premature here, center does feature an interestingly experienced free agent crop. J.C. Tretter, Matt Paradis and Trey Hopkins remain available.

For now, Robert Hainsey will take over at the pivot, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Competing for the other guard spot with second-round pick Luke Goedeke and the recently re-signed Aaron Stinnie, Hainsey is a third-round pick in his second season. Tampa Bay quickly addressed the Rob Gronkowski void by signing Kyle Rudolph. If Jensen is set to miss a substantial amount of time, it would not remotely surprise if Tampa Bay signed one of the top free agent snappers.

Contract Details: Miller, Robinson, Reddick, Mariota, Jensen, Collins, Brown, Norwell

Here are the latest details from contracts recently agreed to across the league, starting with the Bills’ big-ticket deal for a future Hall of Fame edge rusher:

  • Von Miller, LB (Bills): Six years, $120MM. Miller’s deal includes $51.44MM guaranteed. The Bills will keep Miller’s early base salaries low; he is tied to $1.1MM (2022) and $1.3MM (’23) salaries, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. Miller has a $13.34MM roster bonus due in 2023, and Albert Breer of SI.com tweets his deal includes $50MM over the first two years. His $17.1MM, $19.6MM and $29.6MM salaries from 2025-27 are nonguaranteed.
  • Allen Robinson, WR (Rams): Three years, $46.5MM. Robinson is attached to guaranteed base salaries of $1.5MM and $10MM in 2022 and ’23, respectively, per Wilson (on Twitter). The contract includes a $5.75MM roster bonus on Day 5 of the 2024 league year. If Robinson surpasses 2,200 receiving yards in the regular season and playoffs during the 2022 or ’23 seasons, Wilson adds his 2024 year will void (Twitter link). Only Cooper Kupp has accomplished that feat in a season.
  • Haason Reddick, DE (Eagles): Three years, $45MM. Reddick, who is guaranteed $30MM, is tethered to base salaries of just $1MM and $1.1MM in 2022 and 2023, per Wilson (on Twitter). His $13.75MM 2024 salary is nonguaranteed. The Eagles tacked three void years onto the deal for cap purposes. Reddick will collect a $13.7MM roster bonus in 2023.
  • Ryan Jensen, C (Buccaneers): Three years, $39MM. Jensen’s deal includes $26.5MM guaranteed. The Bucs center is tied to a $1.5MM base salary in 2022 and a $12.5MM base in 2023, Wilson tweets. Jensen’s 2023 salary is partially guaranteed at signing; it will become fully guaranteed if he is on Tampa Bay’s roster by Day 5 of the 2023 league year. A $1.5MM 2024 roster bonus resides in this deal as well. The Bucs included two void years here for cap purposes.
  • La’el Collins, T (Bengals): Three years, $30MM. The contract is closer to a two-year, $20MM pact, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, with Year 3 being included for cap purposes (Twitter link). It appears Cincinnati has dipped into the void-year realm, though is not clear just yet how this contract is structured.
  • Marcus Mariota, QB (Falcons): Two years, $18.75MM. This deal veers closer to a one-year pact. Mariota is due $6.75MM in 2022, but NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero notes (on Twitter) a $12MM 2023 option is included in this contract. A key point for Mariota’s Atlanta future will arrive on Day 5 of the 2023 league year, when a $3MM roster bonus is due.
  • Trent Brown, T (Patriots): Two years, $13MM. Brown will see $4MM guaranteed, Pelissero tweets. The veteran right tackle can earn up to $22MM on the contract.
  • Andrew Norwell, G (Commanders): Two years, $10MM. Norwell will collect $5.7MM guaranteed, Wilson tweets. He is set to earn $1.2MM and $3.54MM in base salary, with Wilson adding Washington added three void years onto this deal.

Contract Details: Crosby, Gregory, Campbell, Conner, Jensen, Dissly, Glowinski

Here are the details from the latest agreed-upon contracts around the league:

  • Maxx Crosby, DE (Raiders): Four years, $94MM. The Raiders gave Crosby a $13MM signing bonus and have fully guaranteed his 2022 and ’23 base salaries ($3.5MM, $10MM), Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. Crosby’s 2024 base ($19MM) will become fully guaranteed in 2023. Crosby’s 2025 and ’26 salaries ($21MM apiece) are nonguaranteed. There are $200K-per-year incentives included for All-Pro nods as well.
  • Randy Gregory, OLB (Broncos): Five years, $70MM. Denver is giving Gregory a $10MM signing bonus and has the pass rusher attached to $4MM and $14MM base salaries in 2022 and ’23, respectively, per Brad Spielberger and Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus (on Twitter). Both years are fully guaranteed, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. Gregory’s deal includes $1MM roster bonuses in 2025 and ’26.
  • De’Vondre Campbell, LB (Packers): Five years, $50MM. Green Bay is giving Campbell a $15MM signing bonus and has backloaded the base salaries. Campbell’s first two salaries check in at $1.1MM and $1.45MM, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. They spike to just north of $7MM by 2024. A $3MM roster bonus is also due on Day 3 of the 2023 league year, with a $2.9MM roster bonus due at the same point on the 2024 calendar.
  • Ryan Jensen, C (Buccaneers): Three years, $39MM. Jensen will see $23MM fully guaranteed, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com tweets. His 2022 breakdown goes $1.5MM base salary and $12.5MM roster bonus. $9MM of Jensen’s $12.5MM 2023 base salary is fully guaranteed, and the other $3.5MM shifts to a full guarantee on Day 5 of the 2023 league year.
  • Will Dissly, TE (Seahawks): Three years, $24MM (max value). The deal includes a $9.3MM signing bonus but is light on guaranteed salary. Dissly’s $1MM 2022 salary is fully guaranteed, while Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets the 2023 base ($5.64MM) is guaranteed for injury. The injury-prone tight end’s 2024 base ($6.49MM) is nonguaranteed.
  • James Conner, RB (Cardinals): Three years, $21MM. Conner’s deal includes $13.5MM guaranteed, per Kyed and Spielberger (on Twitter). Conner’s 2022 and ’23 base salaries ($1.75MM and $5.75MM) are fully guaranteed.
  • Mark Glowinski, G (Giants): Three years, $18.3MM. The Giants included a $4.5MM signing bonus, and Glowinski will have cap figures of $3.35MM (2022), $7.75MM (2023) and $7.2MM (’24). Glowinski is due a $1MM roster bonus in 2023 (Twitter links via The Athletic’s Dan Duggan).