Ryan Jensen is off the market. The free agent center has agreed to a four-year, $42 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The deal includes $22 million in guaranteed money. It makes him the highest paid center in the NFL.
Highest paid center in NFL. https://t.co/TgsPGBFiyJ
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sign Ryan Jensen
Jensen, the 203rd overall selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, is coming off something of a breakout season with the Baltimore Ravens and is about to enjoy the benefits of his recent success.
Although it was a frustrating season for Ravens fans as the team narrowly missed the playoffs by virtue of a crushing Week 17 defeat at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals, the performance of Jensen and his fellow offensive linemen was a bright spot for much of the year.
After spending the first four years of his career as a rotational interior lineman, he took over as the starting center in 2017, and the results were impressive. For the first time in his career, Jensen started every contest, allowing only two sacks and taking two penalties in the process, all while grading out at Pro Football Focus’ ninth-ranked center.
Clearly, he was a catalyst for the team’s success in pass protection, as the Ravens’ line allowed only 27 sacks and an adjusted sack rate of 4.4%, which was tied for fourth-best in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders.
The center market has been reset over the last year with players like Brandon Linder, Justin Britt, and Corey Linsley all earning contracts that average over $8.5 million per season since last summer. Jensen clearly hit the market at the right time.
At 26, Jensen has a lot of high-quality football ahead of him and his recent production and upside have earned him this contract. The Colorado State-Pueblo product had only suited up for 19 regular season contests and nine career starts prior to last season, but now he’s about to get paid.