After weeks of speculation on whether on not he’ll return to Seattle, defensive end Michael Bennett will officially test free agency, per ESPN Insider Adam Schefter.
After being a force for the Seahawks in 2013 on a one-year, $5 million deal, Bennett will see how much he’s worth on the open market and will opt not to re-sign with the team before the March 11th start of free agency.
For the Super Bowl champs, Bennett, along with wideout Golden Tate, are the two biggest free agents-to-be. Last week the team saved $12 million in cap space by cutting Sidney Rice and Red Bryant, and Zach Miller figures to be the next Seattle player to be released.
In what is a strong market for defensive ends, Bennett is one of the top three, along with Greg Hardy and Michael Johnson. With Seattle’s talent on defense, they wouldn’t be lost without Bennett on D, but they will no doubt miss him. He was dominant in the divisional round win over New Orleans and a key player in their other two postseason wins as well.
Having already said that he won’t give Seattle a hometown discount, the gut feeling is that he’ll be elsewhere in 2014, as there are several teams in need of a pass rusher, and with deeper pockets to boot.