Bucs make Jensen league’s highest paid center
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added free-agent center Ryan Jensen on a mammoth deal, according to multiple reports, setting a major offensive line benchmark for the third time in this free-agency period.
Per NFL Network, Jensen’s contract is for $42 million over four years with $22 million guaranteed. It makes the former Baltimore Raven the league’s highest paid center in terms of annual average ($10.5 million), narrowly ahead of Jacksonville’s Brandon Linder ($10.3 million). Jensen, who also visited with the Colts in free agency before the Bucs, ranks fifth among centers in guaranteed money.
Earlier this week, the Jaguars made Andrew Norwell the league’s highest paid guard and the Giants made left tackle Nate Solder the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history. That continues a trend of less decorated O-linemen getting top-of-the-market money in free agency, as none of the three has a Pro Bowl on his resume, though Norwell is coming off of a first-team All-Pro selection.
Jensen, 26, became a full-time starter for the first time last season, playing every single snap for the Ravens at the pivot. A former sixth-round pick, he played in 19 games (nine starts) through his first three seasons.
With Jensen’s arrival, the Bucs will likely move Ali Marpet back to right guard, where he started 29 games through his first two NFL seasons after joining Tampa Bay as a second-round pick out of Hobart in 2015. Marpet started 13 games in 2017 at center before going down with a knee injury.
According to CBS, the Colts will now turn their attention to center Mike Pouncey, who was recently released by the Miami Dolphins.