Bennett Chess Game Begins

February 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.

33 Responses to “Bennett Chess Game Begins”

  1. Jlaser99 Says:

    Yes he is a good Player. But he is not healthy all of the time. These guys only play lights out when they know there contract year is coming up! Plus if he gets paid top Dollar he needs to play at full speed not only one year.

  2. andres Says:

    15+ sacks then I’d pay top dollar but I saw more in this statment that they don’t want Barber back next year, just a hunch.

  3. Queensland Cal Says:

    The further incentive of attracting his TE bro Martellus to the Bucs should really see a long term incentive laden deal offered. It’s not like there is not any cap room to play with.

  4. gotbbucs Says:

    I hope Dominik has a number that he won’t go over on this deal. I ike Bennett quite a bit, think he’s a pretty good LEFT defensve end, but top 5 money goes to right defensive ends that register double digit sacks year after year. The problen Dominik has is he needs to figure out how many times Bennett could have gotten to the QB had the coverage been good enough to force one more second in the pocket. I don’t think it would have made a huge dfference in Bennett’s case, he runs pretty hot and cold in the pass rush area. He is a very good run defender though, so that also needs to be taken into conideration, but ultimately DE’s get paid for sacks and pressures.

    Joe’s last sentence sums it up, just a matter of how much that kind of player is worth.

  5. 4everBucsFan Says:

    I would tag him. Keep him another year. If he improves, you got your monies worth, if he slips, you’re off the hook for his over valued contract. One that he would never live up too.

  6. Legarrettes Blunt Says:

    This scares me Joe, I really don’t want to see one of our best defensive players (on a pretty bad defense) walk away. He is a beast, they must really see something special in Daquan Bowers if they let Bennett go.

  7. RastaMon Says:

    Is this about Josh Freeman…..last year of contract this year…then franchise tag next for another year before deciding on his long term future with the Bucs….

  8. PRBucFan Says:

    I guess we’ll always be stuck drafting/spending time ‘looking’ for a good DE.

    Resulting in us never being able to move on and build the rest of the damn team.

    All this time spend looking and drafting for the position and we finally find a gem in his prime who is only getting better, and we let him walk.

    I dont know get it, do we desire to be stuck in this search?
    Never being fully capable of placing our attention/finances on other areas of the team?

  9. PRBucFan Says:

    Subtract the “know” lol

  10. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I’m starting to get a bad feeling about this. I just don’t see how we can let this guy walk. Even if we don’t think he’s great, he’s the best DE we’ve had since Simeon Rice (which he’s still a million miles away from Simeon), so it’s not like finding great DE’s has been our strength.

  11. So. Ill. Bucs Says:

    We need to pay this man. If we get a full year of a healthy Gerald McCoy, Adrian Clayborne, Micheal Bennett, and hopefully Roy Miller I think this line will be pretty formidable.

    With Bowers and Te’o as experienced rotational players as a bonus.

  12. Justin P's Dwindling Radio "career" Says:

    If the Bucs can’t sign him…they BETTER Franchise him….or they are CHEAP!!!!!! Franchise Tag is only 1 season….and they have endless money available

  13. MarineBucsFan Says:

    I think it depends on how much Dom values the DEs that will be available when we pick at 13. But i must say i agree with PRBUCFAN. We have a solid group of DEs now lets keep them together n see if we have something special there.

  14. Rich Says:

    I’m sorry did you just sneak in a Te’o prediction? there is no way Te’o is a Buccaneer. no way.

  15. Kevin Says:

    Wild speculation alert!

    Let’s assume for a moment that this isn’t a smoke screen and the Bucs are going to let Bennett walk. (Which I personally wouldn’t like, but that’s irrelevant). The Bucs went though the process of clearing cap space at an up front cost to ownership, which they would not have done unless they intended to do something with the cap space. If the Bucs do not sign Bennett, who are they going to use that ~$8M on? My speculation would be that this could be a precursor to a Revis trade. If Dom had a patchwork agreement with the Jets to get Revis, and is planning on taking a D-Lineman in the first round, does Bennett become expendable?

    As I said, purely speculation. Just a thought.

  16. Macabee Says:

    Translation: We are not going to overpay! And I agree. Franchise money for a DE will be around 11mil/yr. Bennett is a by product of the tampa bay scheme. No other team is going to pay a Tampa Bay player top dollarin FA and Bennett can’t go to another team and be a double digit sack artist. The Bucs need to offer a contract in the 6 to 7mil range and Bennett should take it!

  17. Jrock Says:

    Rich, we’re talking about teo’neishem(sp) who’s on our team… Not whoever that teo guy in the draft is

  18. Ron Says:

    Wrong Te’o, Rich, learn your team’s roster.

  19. Bucnjim Says:

    There is a fine line between fair and over paying players. Breaking the bank sets a bad trend for the rest of the team. Bennett had a good year, but I’d like to see where he ranks among all defensive ends. Is he going to reel it in once he gets paid or is he looking to be one of the best? Not much in free agency though so unless they are looking to draft another DE they had better get something done quick.

  20. Ed Schwartz Says:

    He has improved, he is a very good run defender. Pass rushing skills are better than the average left DE. That means he probably deserves to be paid somewhere around the 10th best paid DE. As long as the defense is worst in the NFL at getting to the QB you can’t single out Bennett as being a rising star therefore you pay him his value, not overpay. He can be productive for 3 years at a high level. $15,000,000 signing bonus. $5,000,000 salary for 4 years with incentives to make another $2,500,000 per season for 12 or more sacks, playoff appearances, Pro Bowl, 75 or more tackles, etc.

  21. bucfanjeff Says:

    Chess match.

  22. MarineBucsFan Says:

    Thats pretty interesting what u did there KEVIN. Think about it, there is no Revis(assuming he gets healthy) in the draft but bennett however is replaceable. Not saying im on board but it is an interesting take.

  23. buccanay Says:

    If we let our best DE get away in the prime of his carreer, considering, our lack of success in drafting, hence, evaluating DE’s, this regime is primed to FAIL. Neither Clayborn, Bowers or McCoy have made it 2 years in a row without serious injury, throw in Price, and these guys have been BAD at drafting D-line. To let your most consistant, productive DE get away would be a disgrace. If Bennet gets away, I cant imagine Mike Williams feeling real good about being a Buccaneer, long-term, anyway.
    Look at it this way..if Bennet walks, that means some team needs a productive DE, who’s in his prime, and is willing to pay. What team fits that description more than the Buccaneers?, AND we can afford him. Also, he doesnt appear to be a prima dona type, who “quits” when he gets paid…just a hunch.

  24. PRBucFan Says:

    I would have to actually disagree with you Mac,

    I do believe he can be a double digit sack artist and he will get paid BIG money whether it’s from us or another team is the only question.

  25. Macabee Says:


    You may be right, I have no crystal ball. But this would be a nice post-mortem after FA for you and I to have. I think I know where to find you. Until then, good looking out!

  26. nick Says:

    Micheal Bennett SUCKS 8 sacks = garbage andwould not pay a huge contract unless he had RICE type numbers 15 sacks etc. he can’t compare to Simeon, you have rookies playing everyyear with better numbers than Bennett why does Joe keep Fondling his Ball BAG

  27. jlynch Says:

    Didnt denver release him a couple years ago??

  28. Joc Says:

    Is it me or did he have the quietus 9 sacks off all time? When we need pressure indent ever remember him stepping up. Nice player but franchise him and if he brings it again he is are guy

  29. Vancini Says:

    Bennett faced more passing plays than other defensive ends…And still couldn’t get to 10 sacks playing 85% of snaps…Teams didn’t even try to run on the Bucs this year!

  30. buccanay Says:

    The “quietus 9 sacks of all time”? WOW

  31. BigMacAttack Says:

    Dom usually keeps his cards close to his vest. The man may surprise us, he has me before. I trust him and think he will do good things this offseason. If Bennett goes, I believe Dom has a plan to compensate or possibly upgrade. We may not get the exact guys we want but we should get some good ones.

  32. PRBucFan Says:


    Deal 🙂

  33. scubog Says:

    Bennett is one of Dominik’s finds for which he receives little credit since we often seem to focus on the failures.