Seattle Seahawks ace GM John Schneider stated during the combine that the team isn’t planning on giving star defensive end Michael Bennett the franchise tag, and that line of thinking hasn’t changed one bit over the past couple of weeks. Per a league source close to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, the Seahawks will not use the franchise tag on Bennett, with the deadline for the tag coming at 4:00 p.m. ET today.
It’s clear that the Seahawks are trying to do everything possible to sign the elite DE to a multi-year deal, as they released fan favorite, leader, and excellent run-stuffing veteran DE Red Bryant last month in a cost-cutting move. Bennett is one of the NFL’s premier defensive ends, as he’s an elite pass rusher and is also one of the best players at the position in the running game. After making just $5 million on a one-year deal due to a shockingly poor market last offseason, the 28-year-old is undoubtedly doing whatever he can to chase the paper this offseason.
It will be interesting to see how much Bennett will command this offseason, and it will be interesting to see if Schneider and the Seahawks can keep the incredibly disruptive DE around for several more years. They will do what they can to re-sign him before the March 11 deadline, but I’m sure they aren’t going to overpay for him. I honestly expect Bennett to walk this year, and he’s clearly intent on getting himself a big paycheck. Underrated DT Clinton McDonald is also an impending free agent, and I think it’s more likely for the Seahawks to re-sign him and Golden Tate than to keep Bennett.