The NFL free agency does not start officially until Tuesday but teams can negotiate and agree unofficially with unrestricted free agents starting tonight at midnight. Therefore, there will be a flurry of rumors and stories, true or not. One of the most interesting stories will be that of Michael Bennett.
Michael Bennett is the defensive end of the current world champions Seattle Seahawks. He took a one-year “prove it” contract this season, and he did.
In 2012, Bennett had 41 tackles and 9 sacks, but did not find a market in free agency. He then signed that deal with Seattle. This season, he had 31 tackles and 8.5 sacks. When asked about giving the Seahawks a hometown discount, Bennett replied “There is no such thing as discount. This is not Costco or Walmart-this is real life.”
Jordan Campbell pointed out recently that in his season with Seattle, Bennett was consistently in the backfield and had a knack of disrupting opposing quarterbacks’ timing.
Michael Bennett is a strong, athletic end who would fit well in the Bears’ 4-3 scheme. He plays well against both the run and pass. The Bears were constantly torched against the run last season, and that put a great deal of pressure on the secondary.
At 28, Bennett is also in the prime of his career. Julius Peppers is on the downside of his career, and though he still can play on a high level, he just cannot do it consistently. He would have one great game, then disappear for a couple of others.
Mike Florio recently stated that the San Francisco 49ers could get into a bidding war with Seattle for Bennett, but that seems unlikely. The Niners could just be trying to raise Bennett’s value so that Seattle could lose him. The Niners play a 3-4 defense and Bennett would not be a good fit with them.
In addition to the Seahawks and Bears, the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars will also pursue Bennett. Having just won the Lombardi Trophy, I think Bennett would want to go with a contender so I view his pick to be between the Seahawks and Bears.
Bennett’s brother, Martellus, has been lobbying hard for Michael to come to Chicago. He recently tweeted a picture of Michael as a child wearing a Michael Jordan jersey, saying “Chicago is calling you.”
Could Martellus’ lobbying give the Bears the edge over Seattle? Never underestimate the power of family. Bears fans are hoping Michael Bennet joins their family and helps put the team over the top.