Does Kwesi Know JC Tretter Is Cooked?

Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter. © Jeff Lange via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

If the Minnesota Vikings have a glaring need yet this offseason, it’s at the center position. Garrett Bradbury is as effective as the Menards turnstile, leaving Kirk Cousins unprotected up the middle. With an option available, maybe Kwesi Adofo-Mensah knows that free agent J.C. Tretter is done.

The former Green Bay Packers lineman became a starter in 2016 but played just seven games that season due to injury. That knee injury left J.C. Tretter on the shelf the rest of the season, and he missed out on a 10-6 year for Mike McCarthy’s squad. Green Bay ultimately got blasted by the Atlanta Falcons in the Conference Championship round, and Tretter was out on the streets.

Signing with the Cleveland Browns, Tretter has started all 80 of the games he played from 2017 through last year. He’s been one of the better centers in the league and helped to anchor an offensive line that routinely saw poor quarterback play and turnover. For a team like the Vikings, that’s a guy with the makings of an impact blocker.

Not so fast, right?

New Minnesota General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah should know the health of Tretter more than most. He was with the Browns during Tretter’s tenure, and he likely saw the 6’4” athlete routinely on the side of the practice field. Despite being a Pro-Bowl talent that never earned the designation, Tretter basically spent his Browns career playing one day a week.

PurplePTSD: Tretter Still Out There, the Top 100, Earning Respect
Aug 22, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports.

Back in March, a report from Sports Illustrated indicated, “Tretter was virtually never truly healthy in his time with the Browns. Due to knee and ankle injuries, he basically never practiced during the season. He would simply come out and play every game without missing a snap, often doing a good job despite playing on one leg.”

While it worked out in the form of games started, there’s no denying that it is a suboptimal way to rely on a starting talent.

Cleveland made plans to go a different direction once the offseason started, and there has been no looking back. While Tretter’s talent should’ve allowed him to be rostered by now, the health issues are certainly causing teams to second-guess any contract they may offer him. Training camp is right around the corner, and if the past few years are any indication, that may be the only time Tretter steps foot on a practice field during the season.

Minnesota could undoubtedly use a step forward at the center position, but Kwesi may know enough that this isn’t going to be one taken on the right foot.