At the NFL Combine press conference Thursday, Seahawks G.M. Jon Schneider said that defensive end Michael Bennett won’t get the franchise tag for the 2014 season, per Chris Wesseling of NFL.com Around the League.
Going into the free agency, Bennett will be the biggest topic for the Seahawks. He was Seattle’s best pass rusher in 2013, and was one of their best players in their playoff run. With Bennett no longer a franchise tag candidate, that leaves Golden Tate as the other possible option. Tate is not an elite wideout, but he was the best Seahawks receiver in 2013. He is also a trusted punt returner for Seattle’s special teams unit.
Recently, Bennett said that there won’t be a hometown discount for his next contract. As Seattle already needs to start thinking about locking up their young stars, perhaps Bennett will be too expensive for the Seahawks to retain. As of right now, he might be the second best pass rusher set to hit free agency, behind Carolina’s Greg Hardy.
The Seahawks will have some financial sacrifices to make, but their situation won’t be nearly as bad as the Ravens after the 2012 season. With Sidney Rice, Zach Miller and Chris Clemons all likely to be released, and also the rumored cap raise to $130 million, the outlook for Bennett to return to Seattle might look better in a couple weeks.