Potential Bears Starter Re-Ignites Trade Rumors With Recent Comments

Matt Eberflus

Getty Head coach Matt Eberflus of the Chicago Bears watches on during the team's second preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.

The third preseason game for the Chicago Bears is going to be a huge one for myriad players trying to crack the 53-man roster.

It’s also going to be an important one for 2021 second-round pick Teven Jenkins.

After getting selected by the former regime at No. 39 overall last year, Jenkins has had a difficult time trying to find his place on an offensive line that’s being molded by first-year general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus.

Drafted as a tackle, Jenkins was relegated to second- and third-string roles at the position during OTAs before offensive line coach Chris Morgan and company decided to move him to right guard this preseason, where he has been playing well.

There were also the trade rumors started by top NFL insiders Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo, who reported on August 1 that “the Bears have held trade talks” about the young O-Lineman. After his recent comments, it’s clear Jenkins heard the talk — and it’s also evident he thinks he could still be traded.

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Jenkins: Going to Play Hard ‘Wherever That May Be’

Heading into Chicago’s third preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, Jenkins was asked whether he viewed his opportunity at right guard as a chance to showcase his skills for other teams who may be potentially interested, Jenkins gave a candid response.

“Ultimately, any film is good film,” Jenkins said after practice on August 25. “So no matter if I’m gonna be here or no matter or however, I know you know the trade rumors and all that stuff, wherever that may be, I’m trying to get good film and be the best player I can be for myself. And hopefully right now it’s for the Chicago Bears.”

Hopefully? Right now? That doesn’t sound like a player who feels like he isn’t going anywhere.

Eberflus didn’t exactly sound convincing when speaking about whether his team is set at offensive line, either.

“I think we’re still in that evaluation mode with the offensive line,” Eberflus said on August 25. “We’re still looking at a lot of guys. We’re still looking at the combinations. I know we’re kind of solidified as of late, the recent one that’s been out there. But we’re still, this thing, is still open. The competition is still open. So everybody’s got to put their best foot forward. They’ve got to perform this Saturday. They’ve got to get it done on the field.”

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Jenkins: It Has Been a Rollercoaster This Offseason

“I would just say it’s been like a roller coaster and a mix of emotions for me,” Jenkins added. “Going from (No.) 2 or right tackle (No.) 3, right tackle to go to second right guard, and I’m starting right now. It’s a lot about seizing opportunity.”

As it stands, Jenkins is in line to be the team’s starter at right guard, where he says he’s getting more comfortable with each snap. “I’m starting to learn all the tendencies, all the consistency I need to have to be a guard instead of a tackle,” the 24-year-old said.

While it’s possible the Bears decided to move Jenkins to right guard to showcase his versatility, thus making him more attractive to other teams via trade, it’s also possible the Bears saw a way to better develop the young O-Lineman.

Bears Insider: Bears Have Been Sniffing Around Veteran Guards in Trade Market

Adam Jahns of The Athletic reported on August 26 that he’s hearing the Bears have been looking to add more players at guard specifically — but Jahns also says Jenkins has been doing well enough at RG to make the Bears want to keep him around to see how he develops.

“There have been rumblings in league circles that the Bears have explored adding other offensive linemen, including veteran guards, in the trade market,” Jahns wrote. “It won’t be surprising if new faces are added later after cuts are made across the league. Jenkins, though, has impressed the Bears to the point that they don’t feel overly compelled to make a move.”

If an interested team were to call Poles with a decent offer, though, he’d surely listen.

Jenkins finished strong after a rough start last year.  In 160 total snaps, he allowed 11 pressures, two QB hits and two sacks while getting flagged seven times, per PFF. But he surrendered just two pressures and no sacks in his final four games at tackle and has shown promise at right guard, albeit only in the preseason.

He earned an 82.6 pass blocking grade from PFF during his first preseason game at RG against the Seattle Seahawks. What happens against the Browns could go a long way to determining whether he remains in a Bears uniform for the foreseeable future.

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Craig Wachs
Craig Wachs
5 months ago

Jenkins has looked really good at guard . Best OL player if ya ask me …mustapher an whitehead seems to me SUCK so far barom jones get a B- / C+

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