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Teven Jenkins says ‘nothing is on the table’ for Bears extension

It’s been quite the journey for offensive lineman Teven Jenkins ever since he became a member of the Chicago Bears. The former second-round pick was supposed to be the team’s franchise left tackle, then experienced a regime change, moved to right tackle, was supposedly on the trade block, and finally settled at guard, where he became one of the league’s better interior blockers.

Despite the rollercoaster early on, Jenkins found a home on the offensive line and is being counted on for the 2024 season as the Bears usher in a new offense and a new era. But anything beyond that is very much up in the air.

Jenkins said as much on Wednesday afternoon following Day 2 of Bears minicamp practice. Meeting with the media, Jenkins was asked if he had talked with the team about a possible contract extension as he is entering the final year of his deal. “Yeah, we reached out,” Jenkins said, but quickly made it clear where things stood. “Nothing is on the table.” A follow-up was asked on where things stood with him and the current administration. “Up in the air, can’t tell you,” Jenkins said while shaking his head.

According to Jenkins, one side is talking about wanting to do a deal. The question is, when will general manager Ryan Poles follow up? Jenkins is the next player in line for an extension, and he has excelled at guard when healthy. That’s the issue, though.

Since coming into the league back in 2021, Jenkins has started just 24 of 51 possible games due to injuries. He’s dealt with back issues, a neck injury, and lower body injuries, including one that kept him out of the team’s first four games last season. Jenkins knows he hasn’t been on the field enough and mentioned that as his top goal this upcoming season. “Stay healthy. That’s No. 1, and that’s of the utmost importance for me right now. Stay healthy, get through the whole 17 games, and continue my strong play from last year and be a more consistent, reliable guy.”

Jenkins has the potential to be a Pro Bowl guard if he can stay on the field. He allowed just three sacks all year in 2023, with two of them coming in the final game. He’s developed into a mauler in the run game and has been the team’s top interior lineman the last two years, despite moving from the right side to the left in 2023.

Poles hasn’t been shy about giving out extensions, even to the players he didn’t select. Tight end Cole Kmet and cornerback Jaylon Johnson both inked new four-year deals within the last 12 months, despite being selected by the previous regime. And while Kmet has been the team’s Iron Man, Johnson has dealt with his own health issues, which could have been one of the reasons for the holdup. Poles and Jenkins may have had a rocky start to their relationship, but things appear to be much better going into Year 3 together.

The Bears clearly need Jenkins to solidify the interior of their offensive line, given the constant shuffling that has been happening. If he can just stay healthy, there’s a much better chance of a deal getting done. And it’s not like Jenkins wants to go anywhere, either. “I want to be a Bear for a long time,” he said in an interview last month. Hopefully, the feeling winds up being mutual.

Story originally appeared on Bears Wire