According to multiple reports, Chicago Bears offensive tackle Teven Jenkins wasn’t visibly present on the field with his fellow offensive linemen for Thursday’s training camp practice. The strange development arrives just two days after the Bears agreed to terms with veteran free-agent offensive tackle Riley Reiff on a one-year contract worth up to $12.5 million. The situation remains fluid, but it’s officially time for Bears fans to be concerned about Jenkins’ future with the team.
Reiff’s arrival is, in part, due to the impression left on the Bears’ new brass by Jenkins. New General Manager Ryan Poles drafted four offensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft. Two of those players were offensive tackles. Poles continues to tinker with his offensive line. It accurately portrays Poles’ opinion on the group he inherited, Jenkins most notably. Even before signing Reiff, it was fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones, not Jenkins, that was consistently receiving first-team reps at left tackle throughout organized team activities (OTAs). It’s been an anyone-but-Jenkins approach.
The Bears continue to reshuffle their offensive line and Jenkins falls further down the depth chart as a result. Reiff and Jones are in the mix at left tackle, with the veteran Reiff viewed as the strong favorite to win the job as Justin Fields’ blindside protector. Jones may eventually compete at right tackle alongside Larry Borom, who is the favorite to claim that starting position after playing a team-leading 546 snaps at right tackle last season. Veteran journeyman Julie’n Davenport is also on the roster. This leaves Jenkins in no man’s land. Perhaps Jenkins can move inside to right guard, but the Bears recently signed veteran guard Michael Schofield to a one-year bridge contract, presumably to start.
Jenkins’ career got off to a less-than-desirable start as a rookie and this offseason hasn’t welcomed much hope for improvement. The No. 39 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, offseason back surgery delayed Jenkins’ debut until December. Jenkins entered a Week 14 contest against the Green Bay Packers following an injury to starting left tackle Jason Peters. Jenkins ended that contest with a Pro Football Focus grade of 26.7 as the Packers’ pass rushers took turns teeing off on him. Jenkins played 157 snaps at left tackle in total and finished the season with an overall grade of 47.5, via PFF.
Poles didn’t draft Jenkins. The former G.M. Ryan Pace did. New general managers are less inclined to showcase patience to an underperforming player they inherited from the previous regime. Poles is a former offensive lineman himself who understands what it takes to play the position at a high level. Jenkins hasn’t given Poles any reason to adjust his approach to a turbulent situation that continues to unravel.
Jenkins’ involvement at practice will be worth monitoring going forward, particularly following Thursday’s strange development. If Teven Jenkins returns to the field, it will almost certainly be via reps with the backups. It doesn’t feel early to be concerned regarding Jenkins’ future in Chicago. Every development seems to indicate a deteriorating relationship.
- Aug 17, 2022
- Aug 17, 2022