The Chicago Bears have begun to have trade discussions centered around 2021 second-round pick Teven Jenkins, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo, as the 24-year-old offensive tackle continues to miss practice.
Rapoport tweeted on August 1 that the Bears have both “received calls” and “held trade discussions” about Jenkins, a sign that the new Bears regime could be looking to move on from a player who has been controversial over his first 15 months in Chicago. Jenkins has also missed five consecutive practices for the Bears since training camp opened last week and remains “day-to-day” with an unspecified injury.
The Bears’ former general manager, Ryan Pace, had traded away the last year’s second- and third-round picks to move up to No. 39 overall for Jenkins in the 2021 NFL draft. It was a decision that was initially met with excitement but also one that became more problematic when it was revealed Jenkins was still recovering from back issues he experienced in college — issues that Pace and his Bears staff were well aware of when they drafted him. Ultimately, Jenkins ended up having back surgery and missing the first 11 games of his rookie season before getting some reps at the end of the year.
It would be significant if the Bears decided to move on from Jenkins so quickly into his career. Despite being a draft pick from the previous regime, Jenkins is still considered have a good amount of upside as an NFL tackle or guard and has the skill set/size to be a quality starter if he can put his injury issues behind him. Alas, injuries are not the only issues the Bears are having with him ahead of his second NFL season.
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Bears Facing Maturity Issues With Jenkins
Questions have emerged throughout the 2022 offseason about how the new Bears staff views Jenkins in the future plans. During OTAs, there were a couple of times when Jenkins was moved to the second-team offense while guys like rookie Braxton Jones and second-year Larry Borom ran with the starters at the tackle spots. Now, he is unable to even take the field and compete for the chance to be a starter in Year 2.
The issues with Jenkins and the Bears, however, appear to go deeper than just his injury. According to David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago, there is a “high level of disconnect” between Jenkins and the new Bears coaches that stem from his lack of maturity.
“From what I am hearing, it is not a serious injury,” Kaplan said during July 30 video update on the Bears’ first week of training camp. “What I’m hearing is there is a high level of disconnect between Teven and the new coaching staff, especially Chris Morgan, the new offensive line coach. That means you have a highly immature player who’s got a lot of talent. As one person who would know close to the team said to me, ‘He’s their most talented lineman, but I’m also hearing he’s wildly immature.’ So, this is on Teven Jenkins to grow the hell up.”
Kaplan also made sure to put some of the responsibility at the feet of the Bears’ new front office, encouraging them to try fixing the bridge instead of burning it with someone they genuinely believe to be talented — and at a position of need, no less.
“Bears, how many people do you have in your front office that work on culture and player relations? You also have to figure this out,” Kaplan said. “Because if this kid has that much ability, you better get it unlocked because your offensive line right now certainly isn’t a strength of this football team.”