The Bear Goggles On Countdown to Kickoff series is now underway. With 73 days to go until the Bears season kicks off we will highlight the Bears player that is wearing number 73, nose tackle John Jenkins.
Jenkins was a third-round pick out of Georgia in 2013 by the New Orleans Saints. Entering last season, Jenkins was in the final year of his 4-year rookie contract. He was released by the Saints on November 9th and signed one week later by the Seattle Seahawks.
Jenkins started 21 games over his first three seasons, but only one last season in New Orleans. After settling in as a rotational defensive lineman, he became expendable once rookie Sheldon Rankins was activated and ready to take the majority of the snaps in the middle of the Saints’ defense. Jenkins played sporadically in just a couple of games with Seattle.
Jenkins comes into this season looking to fortify himself as the NT2 behind Eddie Goldman. If he does, that position does have the opportunity to see playing time because Goldman has yet to prove himself ready to stay on the field consistently. In year one, Goldman struggled with conditioning, and last season a high ankle sprain limited his time on the field.
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Jenkins will compete for the NT2 job with CJ Wilson and Rashaad Coward. While Jenkins most likely has the leg up on the competition to earn the NT2 spot, there is an interesting aspect of this, and that is Jaye Howard.
Howard filled in for Donatri Poe in 2015 at the nose when Poe missed extended time due to an injury. While Howard isn’t the traditional NT body, he did an outstanding job and became one of the top run-stuffers in the league. If Howard looks good in the middle of the defense when he gets preseason opportunities, the Bears may be okay letting all three of their potential backup nose tackles go, and let Howard fill in behind Goldman.
Future with Bears
Jenkins doesn’t have a future with the Bears. He has a one-year contract with only $100,000 guaranteed. He very well could make the 53-man roster this season, but it would be hard to imagine this as anything more than a single season deal with Chicago.
Goldman is the anchor of the Bears defensive line. If the Bears sign Jenkins beyond the 2017 season, that most likely means that things have gone terribly wrong with Goldman. Jenkins will be nothing more than a rotational defensive lineman for Chicago, that is if he makes the roster coming out of camp.