Bennett Chess Game BeginsFebruary 22nd, 2013
Rockstar general manager Mark Dominik played a little hardball today, announcing the Bucs would not use the franchise tag on any player this offseason.
Translation: Michael Bennett, we want you to think we’ll let you walk when unrestricted free agency bell rings March 12.
Of course, the Bucs can always change their collective minds and franchise 27-year-old Bennett next week.
Regardless of what one thinks of Bennett, or whether one considers him worthy of a franchise tag that would keep him in Tampa and pay him nearly $11 million next season, Bennett will get paid huge money this offseason. Young, healthy pass rushers, especially guys like Bennett who also stuff the run effectively, always get a lottery ticket.
The Bucs can talk all they want about Da’Quan Bowers emerging and about managing their budget, but there’s no amount of spin that can make sense out of the Bucs letting their best defensive end walk away.
Joe sincerely hopes this Bennett deal gets done before Bennett hits the open market. There’s no need for the Bucs to play with fire. Bennett’s not a Hall of Famer, but he’s a very good player, the type the Bucs should be retaining.