Image Credit: (Matt Pendleton/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers suffered a huge blow on their offense as center Ryan Jensen suffered a serious knee injury. No word yet on what the injury is, but it’s never a good sign when a player is carted off and when many people are saying that it is not looking any good. Which absolutely stinks as Ryan Jensen is a fantastic center. With this injury the Buccaneers interior offensive line is a big weakness as now they lost both of their guards last offseason and now their center due to injury. The Buccaneers have options to replace him, so I thought why not give the Top 5 best options available for the Buccaneers to replace Jensen?
1. J.C. Tretter
I am still super shocked that J.C. Tretter is still a free agent as he was one of the best centers in the league last year. He was a strong contributor as a pass blocker and can open up holes for the run game. The Buccaneers have enough cap space (10.6 Million) to work with and sign a deal with Tretter who would absolutely be a suitable replacement for Jensen and give the Buccaneers a good blocker to give him time.
2. Robert Hainsey
Now, this is a potential option not many are talking about. Hainsey is the only center that is currently on the Buccaneers roster. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2021 NFL Draft and he was a very intriguing prospect coming in the draft. Plus keep in mind he played in Notre Dame where a lot of great offensive linemen have played college at. He has a lot of positives you wanted to see in an offensive lineman but has to perform more consistently and clean up his blocking technique. But with a year of development Hainsey should show improvement this season and has a big opportunity with Jensen's injury. As for a backup the buccaneers could experiment with some of the current blockers on the team during the next few weeks and if it doesn’t work they can wait until the final cut day to bring more interior help.
3. Trey Hopkins
This is another intriguing option as Hopkins was a solid offensive lineman on the Cincinnati Bengals offense. Even when the Bengals o-line was bad years ago Hopkins was one of the only players that stood out. He probably would still be a Bengal if it wasn’t for his contract, and Cincinnati wanted to get younger on the o-line. Along with getting more investment on the o-line. With his experience, if he can stay healthy, Hopkins should be a solid option for a Buccaneers team that has the goal of winning another Superbowl before Brady leaves.
4. Billy Price
This one is a bit of a gamble, but it could be worth it in both the short and long term. After all, Billy Price was a former 1st round pick. The problem with Price is that he has durability concerns that have plagued him throughout his career. Even when he looked healthy he was dealing with nagging minor injuries. He struggled a lot during his time with the Giants, but maybe with the Buccaneers, he could improve. The Buccaneers could afford to bring him in for the time being and if it works out he could be a solid blocker for the next few years.
5. Matt Paradis (Free Agent)
Paradis is a veteran option at the age of 32, but he is a very solid offensive line and it showed during his time with the Broncos during Super Bowl 50 and with the Panthers, in the three years he spent with the team. Now there is a reason why I have Paradis lower and that is because he has durability concerns. Keep in mind he suffered a Torn ACL in the middle of the 2021 NFL Season and he still might be healthy now. Along with multiple other injuries he suffered throughout his career it absolutely could derail his performance when on the field now.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now in a tough spot as a result of this injury. The interior offensive line is a clear weak point to this team now and it has to be fixed. They have to protect Tom Brady at all costs and give opportunities to the running backs. It will be interesting to see how this team will be fixing the interior offensive line, if it does not, then it is going to cause a massive amount of problems.