J.C. Tretter is Still a Free Agent

Dec 20, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter (64) blocks Las Vegas Raiders outside linebacker K.J. Wright (34) during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings fans and writers have been discussing this one for a little while now. Perhaps the main area of concern on the offense rests at center. J.C. Tretter is a well-established vet with years of strong play behind him. Some dot connecting has ensued within the online Vikings world.

Spotrac lists him at the top of their free agent center list. They indicate that his most recent deal came with a $10.85 million annual average. It’d be very surprising to see him match this number on his next deal. Nevertheless, the fact that he’s still on the market suggests that a team hasn’t given him the number he’s seeking. It’s also possible that there are interested teams willing to send enough money but he’s simply waiting for one he views as a contender.

Before free agency arrived, I assumed the Vikings would make an effort to improve at center. I thought a Garrett Bradbury trade was a strong possibility. He’s only a few years away from being a first-round pick. At the time, plenty of evaluators were high on Bradbury. Surely there’s a team out there willing to part with a late rounder to see if the athletic center can thrive in their system. Perhaps that hasn’t been the case. Or, maybe, Minnesota really does see Bradbury as the starter in 2022. A training camp trade involving Bradbury isn’t impossible, though it’s notable the team doesn’t have a center solution apart from the fourth-year player.

That’s where J.C. Tretter can be so fascinating. His PFR page suggests he has started 16 games for five-straight seasons. On the more negative side is his 4 holding penalties in 2021, the most of his career. He is 31.

Currently, the Vikings have a little more than $10.9 million in cap space. Some of that money will be gobbled up before the year begins, so it’s not like the Vikings have this full amount. Plus, the team doesn’t want to head into the season with no financial wiggle room. Keeping a few million is wise since injuries commonly necessitate a signing or two during the year. If the team wanted to create more room, they could look to restructure Eric Kendricks, Brian O’Neill, and several others. Oh, and a Bradbury trade would clear a couple million.

Teams will be looking to finalize their teams during training camp and the preseason. It’s around this time that we should expect to see J.C. Tretter sign with a team. Perhaps he’ll be snapping to ball to Kirk Cousins when Green Bay comes to town in Week 1.