Steelers reportedly eyeing Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen
By Tommy Jaggi
The Pittsburgh Steelers need help on their offensive line, and recent reports suggest that Kevin Colbert could make a play for center Ryan Jensen in free agency.
Steelers fans will no doubt be glued to their seats when the 2022 free agency period kicks off on March 16th. In the two days prior, NFL teams are allowed to speak with players and enter contract negotiations.
Every Steelers fan would love to see Pittsburgh improve the offensive line this offseason, and it looks like Kevin Colbert could try to do that through free agency. There are several big names that could be hitting the market in free agency, and Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen is one of them.
According to Dan Graziano of ESPN, the Steelers are one of four teams mentioned who could pursue Jensen this offseason. Here’s what Graziano had to say:
"One player I expect to generate a lot of interest on the free-agent market is center Ryan Jensen, who has the attention of the Jets, Bengals, Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, among others. So many teams are looking for offensive line help, and Jensen is viewed as a nasty tone-setter who could help a line with his attitude and ability. If multiple teams are as interested as it sounds they could be, Jensen could be a hot commodity and rake in a nice payday."
Jensen turns 31 years old in may, and it’s possible that he only has 2-3 quality seasons left in the tank. However, that’s not going to stop some center-needy teams from throwing good money at him this offseason.
Should Steelers pursue Jensen?
You don’t have to question whether or not Jensen would be an upgrade at the center position for the Steelers. The answer is yes. While I wouldn’t mind seeing Kendrick Green make terrific strides in his second season to turn things around, we certainly can’t bet on him being the long-term solution after what we saw from him as a rookie in 2021.
Despite Jensen’s age, there’s still a lot he can offer. For starters, Jensen was finally recognized as a Pro Bowl player for the first time in his career following his efforts during the 2021 season. In addition to his nasty, tone-setting demeanor, probably the best trait about Jensen is that he rarely gets injured. In fact, the quality center has now strung together five straight seasons without missing a single game.
While Jensen would offer a significant upgrade at the center position, he’s not going to be the long-term solution for this team. David DeCastro played his last season at the age of 30 and Maurkice Pouncey was washed up by 30 years old.
Though every player ages differently, Jensen may not have a ton left in the tank. If Pittsburgh offers him a three-year deal, for example, he will be 34 years old when his contract is up.
Ryan Jensen is certainly an option the Steelers should consider in free agency this year, as he would give their offensive line one very good piece in the middle. However, there are also some younger offensive linemen options I would like them to explore this offseason as well.