Ryan Jensen won’t be short of suitors when free agency opens this year. Among the interested parties is the Baltimore Ravens, the team that drafted Jensen back in 2013, but saw him win a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
One NFL insider has named the Ravens as one of four teams expected to show interest in Bucs’ center Jensen. The group also includes two of Baltimore’s AFC North rivals.
None of those teams may have as big a need as the Ravens, who could have to fend off interest from within their own division in 2021’s starting pivot man.
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Jensen an Ideal Replacement for Bozeman
Bradley Bozeman has developed into a highly capable center. He started every game over the ball last season, but like Jensen, Bozeman is also expected to draw interest on the market.
That interest could come from close to home, with the Cincinnati Bengals keen on Bozeman, according to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson:
There’s a certain irony about the Ravens possibly looking at the man Bozeman replaced to fill any void that might appear courtesy of the Bengals. The Ravens, Cincy, the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets are interested in Jensen, per ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
Like Bozeman, Jensen was a sixth-round pick who matured into a key player for the Ravens. He came off the board in 2013, but left for sunnier pastures five years later, where he eventually helped Tom Brady and the Buccaneers win Super Bowl LV.
Jensen’s performances in Tampa should help him “rake in a nice payday” believes Graziano. The latter’s colleague at ESPN, Jeremy Fowler, has offered an idea of what that “nice payday” might look like.
Fowler estimates Jensen could fetch as much as “$15 million per year.” That would be quite the investment, but more than worth it if the Ravens lose Bozeman, something sure to further weaken an already suspect offensive line.
Ravens Need to Transform the Trenches
There’s a need for an overhaul on both sides of the trenches, but the O-line will likely be the priority for Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta. He’s already indicated as much prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, per Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun:
It makes sense for the line to be a priority after the Ravens allowed 57 sacks last season, the second most in the NFL. By contrast, the Bucs only gave up 23 sacks, good for fewest in the league.
Those numbers make reuniting with Jensen look like a no-brainer for the Ravens. Yet, not everybody is convinced Jensen will merit the attention he’s predicted to get ahead of the market officially opening on Wednesday, March 16.
Among the doubters is Fansided’s Tommy Jaggi:
Jensen has his detractors, but there likely won’t be many of those inside the Ravens’ building. People there already know about Jensen’s talent.
The bigger question is should the Ravens go after a veteran they know or pay up to keep Bozeman in town? He’s 27 and was one of the few linemen who emerged with any credit for the Ravens last season.
Bozeman is a player on the rise, but he’s also expected to earn less on the market than an established name like Jensen. Bozeman’s next deal could fetch him $9 million annually, according to CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin, who sees the player landing with the Steelers, something the Ravens would obviously be keen to avoid.