Jun 16, 2021; Lake Forest, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears Teven Jenkins looks on during minicamp at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Bears second-round rookie LT Teven Jenkins nears return

Chicago Bears left tackle Teven Jenkins will be back on the practice field in the first public sign of his physical progress following preseason back surgery.

The second-round pick was shut down during his rookie training camp this summer after struggling with a chronic back issue. Jenkins had back surgery in mid-August.

He fell out of the first round in the 2021 NFL Draft because of reported red flags with his back. The Bears selected Jenkins with the idea he would be ready to start at left tackle as a rookie and released Charles Leno. Jenkins played right tackle at Oklahoma State and could be eased back into the lineup on that side.

Without Jenkins, who was limited most of training camp prior to the operation, the Bears encountered a revolving door until rookie Larry Borom settled into the spot with strong efforts against T.J. Watt (Steelers) and Nick Bosa (49ers).

Grizzled veteran and nine-time Pro Bowl selection Jason Peters was signed in September but never appeared to get fully up to speed in Matt Nagy’s offense.

–Field Level Media

Green Bay Packers offensive guard Elgton Jenkins (74) provides pass protection during the second quarter of their game Monday, September 20, 2021 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Green Bay Packers beat the Detroit Lions 35-17.

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Packers LT Elgton Jenkins doubtful for Week 3 at 49ers

Green Bay Packers left tackle Elgton Jenkins is doubtful for the Week 3 visit to San Francisco on Sunday night due to an ankle injury.

Jenkins did not practice this week and head coach Matt LaFleur said Friday the Packers opted not to list him as officially out of the game because there is an “outside chance” he could still be active.

Jenkins, a valuable Pro Bowl guard, moved to left tackle to compensate for the loss of All-Pro David Bahktiari, who is on short-term injured reserve.

More shuffling of the line would be needed to compensate for Jenkins missing Week 3, LaFleur said.

Third-year pro Yosh Nijman has logged less than 15 career snaps and is listed as the No. 2 left tackle on the team’s depth chart.

Right tackle Dennis Kelly could be a candidate to move to the left side.

–Field Level Media

Sep 27, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Janoris Jenkins (20) against the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Saints to release CB Janoris Jenkins

Jan 17, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher (72) kneels on field before the AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Cleveland Browns at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Slashing payroll to reach salary cap compliance cost the New Orleans Saints the services of cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

According to multiple reports, the Saints and Jenkins are parting to help New Orleans get closer to the new salary cap figure of $182.5 million for the 2021 season. Teams must all be under the cap by March 17, the start of the league year.

Jenkins was scheduled to earn $11.2 million in salary and bonuses. Releasing the former second-round pick saves the Saints $7 million against the salary cap. However, the Saints stand to save another $3 million if the move is designated as a post-June 1 release.

The Saints used the franchise tag to retain safety Marcus Williams.

Additional cap-cutting moves are expected.

New Orleans entered the offseason projected to be over the salary cap by $100 million. That was before the NFL reduced the cap by more than eight percent from 2020.

–Field Level Media

Jan 13, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints offensive guard Andrus Peat (75) lines up against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter of a NFC Divisional playoff football game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Saints clearing cap space with flurry of moves

The New Orleans Saints released wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders and reportedly restructured the contracts of offensive lineman Andrus Peat and safety Malcolm Jenkins on Wednesday, clearing nearly $16 million in cap space.

The Saints are also expected to release linebacker Kwon Alexander in the coming days, a move that would clear another $13 million in cap space.

Sanders, who turns 34 on March 17, would have counted $10.5 million against the salary cap in 2021. His release frees up $6.5 million, per Spotrac. Sanders confirmed his release in a social media post.

Sanders caught 61 passes for 726 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games in his first season with New Orleans in 2020.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection had three straight 1,000-yard seasons with Denver (2014-16), and has caught 662 passes for 8,619 yards and 47 touchdowns in 158 games with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2010-13), Broncos (2014-19), San Francisco 49ers (2019) and Saints.

The Saints lowered Peat’s cap hit from $11.6 million to $5.6 million for this season, per the report. As a result, Peat will carry a cap hit of $15.45 million in 2022. The 27-year-old has started 73 of 78 games played since the Saints drafted him No. 13 overall in 2015.

The Saints reduced Jenkins’ salary to $1.05 million, converting $5.5 million of the difference into a signing bonus that will be spread over the next three years, per the report. The team saved $3.4 million for this season.

Jenkins, 33, started all 16 games for the Saints last season, intercepting three passes and racking up 91 tackles and 10 passes defensed.

The Saints traded for Alexander during the 2020 season, sending linebacker Kiko Alonso and a 2022 fifth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers. Alexander started seven games for the Saints before tearing his Achilles in December, missing the postseason. He’s expected to be ready for training camp.

The Saints slapped safety Marcus Williams with the franchise tag on Tuesday.

–Field Level Media

Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) runs after a pass reception against Minnesota Vikings strong safety Andrew Sendejo (34) during the first quarter of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas one of six Saints ruled out for Sunday

New Orleans Saints star receiver Michael Thomas will miss his third consecutive game due to his left ankle injury.

Thomas is one of six New Orleans starters who will miss Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions.

Thomas was a limited practice participant each of the past three days but didn’t make enough progress to return against the Lions.

Thomas, 27, led the NFL in both receptions (single-season-record 149 catches) and receiving yards (1,725) in 2019.

New Orleans also will be without tight end Jared Cook (groin) and guard Andrus Peat (ankle) on the offensive side. The defense will be missing cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins (shoulder) and Marshon
Lattimore (hamstring) as well as defensive end Marcus Davenport (elbow/toe).

The secondary could be hit hard by not having Jenkins and Lattimore. The defense allowed 71 points over the past two games even with the starting corners.

Justin Hardee, who has seen all his action on special teams so far this season, and Patrick Robinson are in line to be the starting corners against the Lions.

“It’s unfortunate they won’t be able to play this week,” Hardee said of Jenkins and Lattimore. “So, we have to have their back. I went up to those guys and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got your back. Whoever’s out there, we’re definitely going to put on a show.’ And I believe in our group and I believe in our defense.”

Also, linebacker Chase Hansen (hip) is questionable.

–Field Level Media