Chicago Bears Stay or Go: John Jenkins

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Should the Chicago Bears bring back John Jenkins, or let him walk in free agency?

The Chicago Bears let John Jenkins leave in 2017 via free agency. Now, back in 2020, he was back with the team. Jenkins played a lot of nose tackle with Eddie Goldman out and finished with 252 defensive snaps, about 16 snaps per game.

Did the Chicago Bears just sign him on a one-year deal to fill that void, or did he show something to prove that he is depth worth investing in?


You can say what you want about John Jenkins, some readers may not know him. However, if you watch, you know he can defend the run. He is not going to push anyone over, but he is going to plant his feet and ensure that there is not a lane near him.

There is something to be said about a reliable run defender. Eddie Goldman will be back but will be a year removed from playing, and the team needs depth to fill out behind him anyways. While Brent Urban and Mario Edwards fill a similar role, none can play the nose like Jenkins. They may choose to bring one of those two back, but make sure that Jenkins is back with them.

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As noted, Eddie Goldman is coming, end of discussion. Bilal Nichols will start next to Goldman and Hicks when three down lineman are on the field. However, in the nickel league, we often see two interior rushers. That leaves Nichols as depth behind Goldman. So, while Jenkins did well as the depth behind Nichols last season, Nichols can be a backup nose tackle and a starting defensive end. That is not too much on his plate, but rather makes him more of a starter altogether.

Beyond that, Jenkins is not going to be in high demand. They can let him test his market, and if there is none, he can come back for the veteran minimum. Or, the Chicago Bears can keep his number and wait until they need him.

Jenkins has always stepped up when the Bears needed him, but his role is replaceable and the team can move on.