Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times wrote that he thinks Michael Bennett has played is last game in a Tampa Bay Buccaneers uniform. The defensive end led the Buccaneers in sacks last season with 9 and pass rushers are incredibly valued and overpaid for on the free agent market.
Stroud says Bennett “is bound to have a higher maket value to other teams than he does to the Bucs.”
The Bucs could’ve franchised Bennett but he would have been paid $11 million next season. Tampa Bay has Da’quan Bowers on their roster, a 2nd round draft pick from the 2011 draft who led the nation in sacks at Clemson.
With the Bucs looking to utilize Bowers more, Bennett would’ve likely become a nickel pass rusher and $11 million is a lot for a guy used situationally.
But the free agent market might favor Bennett. Teams are desperate for pass rusher, and so far most of the free agent crop at defensive end has been older players like Dwight Freeney and John Abraham. But Bennett is only 27 and still has a lot of football ahead of him.
Stroud also points out that Bennett has exceeded expectations.
“Bennett has been an overachiever, a player who exceeded expectations when he was claimed off waivers from Seattle. But in the last two seasons, playing essentially as a starter, he has 14th sacks. That ranks 42nd in the NFL during that time span. His nine sacks last season ranked 23rd in the league.”