Teven Jenkins Sends 10-Word Message on Future With Bears

Teven Jenkins Future Contract Extension Comments Chicago Bears News

Getty Bears starting guard Teven Jenkins would like to remain in Chicago for the long term.

Teven Jenkins is heading into the final year of his rookie contract with the Chicago Bears in 2024, but his plans for the future have not changed since the day the team first drafted him in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft.

“I want to be a Bear for a long time,” Jenkins told 670 The Score in his May 9 interview.

Jenkins — who turned 26 in March — might be the Bears’ most consequential free agent of the 2025 offseason. While injuries have held him back over his first three seasons, he has grown into a dominant run-blocker for their offensive line and is versatile enough to start at either guard spot for them, making him one of their top frontline assets.

Right now, though, Jenkins understands he is playing “the waiting game” with Chicago. The Bears are likely going to want to see if he can play an entire season without injuries before rushing into discussions about a possible contract extension. In the meantime, Jenkins will focus on the task at hand: taking the next step and leading the O-line room.

“What I got from my agent, we had to wait until after the draft, is all I know,” Jenkins said about contract talks with the Bears. “We’re going to try to reach out to them here soon, but right now, we’re playing the waiting game. I want to be a Bear for a long time. I still do. That has not changed since I’ve been drafted. But we’re going to see how things unfold and how things play out and just take it day by day.

“I’m just going to try to be a great leader for the O-line room and a great player for the team.”

Bears Lack Succession Plan if Teven Jenkins Departs

The Bears will have legitimate questions about Jenkins’ long-term value heading into the 2024 season. He flourished into a competent starting guard last season and showed potential to develop into a Pro Bowl player, but he has missed 20 total games over his first three seasons and remains a major injury concern moving forward. Without clear improvement this year, it will be difficult to justify paying him top-10 guard money.

The problem for the Bears, in terms of negotiations, is they do not have a succession plan in place for Jenkins if they are unable or unwilling to sign him to a new deal.

The Bears cut ties with Cody Whitehair and Lucas Patrick during the 2024 offseason, making 2022 seventh-round pick Ja’Tyre Carter their only returning guard aside from Jenkins and fellow starter Nate Davis. They added three players with guard experience — Ryan Bates, Coleman Shelton and rookie Kiran Amegadjie — but Bates and Shelton are likely to contend for the center job while Amegadjie will start off as a swing tackle.

Davis could also become a problem. He did not always live up to expectations during his first season with Chicago in 2023, giving up just one sack but allowing a team-high seven quarterback hits and a third-round 29 pressures in 384 pass-blocking snaps. He also missed six games on the season, including five due to a high-ankle sprain.

If Davis does not improve in 2024, the Bears may feel inclined to move on from him in 2025 when they no longer owe him guaranteed money. And if they do cut him, it only makes their decision-making with Jenkins’ future all the more challenging.

Keenan Allen Also Notable Among 2025 Free Agents

Fortunately for the Bears, Jenkins could make things easy on them. If he plays well, they have roughly $58.8 million in projected cap space for 2025 and would have plenty of room to sign him to an extension, even if he wants more than $10 million annually. As long as he clears the benchmarks, it serves both sides to stay together beyond 2024.

The Bears also do not have many other high-priority free agents to worry about trying to extend in 2025 aside from Jenkins. Keenan Allen, a six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, is the only other big name that jumps off the page, and the Bears will almost certainly wait and see how he performs in 2024 before racing to pay him more money.

Allen caught a career-high 108 passes for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2023 and would be a major asset for Bears rookie quarterback Caleb Williams if he brings the same level of production with him to Chicago. The Bears are going to be hesitant to pay big money to a 32-year-old wide receiver, though, with the younger DJ Moore running close to the end of his deal and 2024 first-round pick Rome Odunze waiting in the wings for a shot.

It is not totally out of the question that Allen could return in 2025, but the case is much stronger for the 26-year-old Jenkins if he does well protecting Williams this season.

Running back Khalil Herbert is also a notable 2025 free agent for the Bears, but his case for an extension got much weaker when the team signed D’Andre Swift to a three-year, $24 million contract in 2024 free agency. With 2023 fourth-rounder Roschon Johnson also in the fold, it is hard to imagine the team asking Herbert to stick around next year.

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