With the news Thursday that Michael Bennett will test free agency before signing anywhere, the question now becomes which teams may be the toughest competitors to the Seahawks for his services.
One team that has been known to be interested all along is Chicago, where Bennett’s brother Martellus also plays.
The Chicago Sun-Times today broke down the reasons the Bears will undoubtedly make a run at Michael Bennett. Wrote the Sun-Times:
The 28-year-old might be the most attractive player on the free-agent market, period, but particularly to the Bears.
No one in the NFL logged fewer sacks than the Bears’ 31 last season.
Counting the regular season and playoffs, Michael Bennett had 10 all by himself. He had 51 hurries and 17 knockdowns.
Bennett can play end and tackle, positions of dire need for the Bears. He lined up inside 36.2 percent of the time last season, per Pro Football Focus, and would be a devastating rusher there on passing downs.
In the midst of Extreme Makeover: Defense Edition, the Bears have signed 10 of their own potential unrestricted free agents, most in the league. But they figure to have the financial flexibility to compete for Michael Bennett.
Having players who will be attractive to other teams is, of course, one of the prices of being a good team yourself. Bennett signed a one-year deal last season to put himself in this spot, and it was little surprise yesterday that he decided to take advantage of it fully. I sense lots of mixed fan reaction, though, possibly in part because this hasn’t happened a lot to the Seahawks where they have been at risk of losing a player they really wanted (Steve Hutchinson being a notable exception).
Some seemed to think “good riddance” to Bennett and that this is just about money (reality is, almost all decisions in sports are). Others seemed not too worried, figuring that either, A: the Seahawks will get him back; or B: even if they don’t, the Seahawks will find a suitable replacement. Right now, there’s no question the Seahawks deserve the benefit of the doubt that, Bennett or no Bennett, they’ll figure out a way to make it work in 2014.
In other news. …
— ESPN.com details how the 12th Man jerseys are also working their way up the best-selling lists;
— ESPN names Golden Tate’s 80-yard TD at St. Louis Seattle’s No. 1 offensive play of the season;
— NFL.com names Tate the No. 1 bargain in free agency, and Walter Thurmond No. 3;
— USA Today reports Sidney Rice could be cleared to play by April;
— The New York Daily News predicts Bennett will stay with the Seahawks but that Tate will sign with the Jets;
— ProFootballTalk says the 49ers might also make a big run at Bennett;
— NFL.com breaks down the free agency needs for every team in the NFC West and says Seattle needs to focus on offensive linemen;
— Here’s ESPN’s Free Agency Primer on the Seahawks;
— ESPN’s Todd McShay has the Seahawks taking UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo in the first round;
— Yahoo.com with a look at the offensive linemen available in free agency;
— Dan Pompei ranks Seattle’s 2013 defense among the best in NFL history;
— Michael Robinson is guest starring on “The Young and the Restless”;
— Luke Willson may be going to a prom this year;
— Interesting story here on what it’s like to be cut;
— Finally, I liked this list from Football Perspective of the least conforming games of the 2013 season.