How Teven Jenkins return will shake up Chicago Bears offensive line

Chicago Bears - Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears have opened the 21-day window for Teven Jenkins to return. While he may return closer to the end of this window it is still huge to get him back and healthy for the team’s stretch run. The question with his return will be what is going to happen with the offensive line?

Jason Peters is the starting left tackle and would seem to be the odd man out with left tackle Teven Jenkins returning. However, Peters is the Bears’ second-best offensive lineman, and his veteran presence makes him the most valuable to this point. So, do they move Peters, move Jenkins, or potentially push one of their better linemen to the bench?

Should Chicago Bears start their best five?

By starting their best five, they would likely be moving Sam Mustipher out of the lineup. The question from there is whether Cody Whitehair or James Daniels will replace him. Both have center experience, but both have been better playing a position other than center.

There is a case to be made that James Daniels should make the move. To start, Teven Jenkins and Jason Peters spent time, albeit minimal for both, at right guard. Jenkins played right tackle last season, so could at least stay on the same side he played last season. Peters started two games at right guard in 2020, although those were not his best performances.

Still, beyond both having played right guard, Daniels has more upside at center. He was young and developing and had Mitch Trubisky under center his last go. The two had issues with communication and never got off the ground. Now, Daniels is far more developed and in the best stretch of play of his career. If they move him to center and it works, they could have something long-term. Nothing long-term will happen with Whitehair starting at center.

Which player should start at tackle?

The last question is whether or not Jenkins should jump in at tackle or Peters. On one hand, it seems like an easy solution. Jenkins is the future at tackle, he should start. However, there are plenty of situations of a tackle prospect cutting his teeth at guard. There is a bit less movement at guard, and you are not an island against elite pass rushers. The Bears could get him involved in the NFL with a few starts at guard before making the shift to tackle next season.

As noted, Peters is 40 and was not good at guard last season. If they choose to keep Peters in the lineup, it would be hard to move him off of left tackle.

There is a case to be made that Jenkins could also start at right tackle while Borom moves to right guard. Borom has spent time at guard as well, and the transition of Daniels to center would not be hard.

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No matter what, there are plenty of options. First, the Bears must decide if they want to keep Peters in the lineup. Next, they must decide on Mustipher. Finally, they have to answer whether they think easing in Jenkins at guard would help him, or if he should jump in at tackle. Then, right  or left? His future is on the left, but the easy solution on the fIy is right. All these questions will be answered soon.