The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have re-signed Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen to a three-year contract. Jensen's return notably comes one day after Pro Bowl quarterback Tom Brady chose to end his short-lived retirement and return for another season at the helm of the Buccaneers' offense.
On Sunday, Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht said the team was prepared to "reload this roster for another championship run." Retaining Jensen is a significant step in that direction. Not only did Jensen start all 71 games over the past four seasons, playoffs included, since signing as an unrestricted free agent in 2018, but he was on the field for 98% of the team's offensive snaps in that span.
The Buccaneers originally signed Ryan Jensen as an unrestricted free agent in 2018 after he had finished his first full season as a starter for the Baltimore Ravens. If that was at all a risky bet, based on one admittedly quite good campaign as the Ravens' center, it paid off in a big way. Not only did Jensen finish that four-year contract but he arguably got better every single season over his four-year deal in Tampa.
"When we originally signed Ryan four years ago, we thought he was one of the best centers in the league and he has only elevated his level of play in his years with us," said Licht. "He also brings a toughness and grit that sets the tone for our offensive line, which has become one of the best units in the NFL. Ryan is a key component of our football team and keeping him was a major priority for us this offseason. We are very excited that he chose to remain with us as we strive to contend for another championship."
Jensen certainly capped that four-year run at the peak of his performance; his 72nd game as a Buccaneer was the 2022 Pro Bowl, his first all-star appearance. Jensen was one of three players selected for the Pro Bowl off of Tampa Bay's dominant offensive line after the Buccaneers allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL in 2021 and led the league in passing yards. Jensen was also the emotional leader for that unit, setting the tone game after game with his play-to-the-whistle style.
Over his first four seasons in Tampa, Jensen would start every game at center from 2018-21. Over those seasons, he missed just 43 of a possible 4,933 offensive snaps for the Buccaneers, including playoffs, staying on the field for 99.1% of the offense's work. During Jensen's four years in the lineup, the Buccaneers led the NFL in passing yards and finished second in total yards, points, yards per play, first downs and third-down percentage. Tampa Bay also gave up the seventh-fewest sacks in that span.