I've flip flopped on free agent defensive end Michael Bennett coming to the Chicago Bears.
Originally I thought it was a perfect pairing of need plus family ties that would bring him to Chicago. Younger brother Martellus Bennett started recruiting Michael as soon as he could, and it seemed the Seattle Seahawks wouldn't have the necessary cap space to re-sign him along with their other free agents.
Then Michael said Chicago was too cold. He started talking about how much he expected to get paid. The Seahawks started releasing and re-signing players to get the cap room to offer a deal, and I realized Michael is the type of free agent teams overpay to acquire. As recently as February 24th, I wrote that the Bears shouldn't pursue Michael Bennett.
But then I started going over the free agent list again and looking at potential fits for free agents among all 32 teams. I started looking at draft possibilities, and everyone's available cap space.
I started reading various NFL experts predict that Michael Bennett makes sense for the Bears. Pete Prisco from CBS Sports.com.
Michael Bennett, DE, Seahawks: They need help opposite Julius Peppers, if he stays. There's a chance Peppers goes, and then Bennett would be the guy.
I think most Bears fans assume Peppers is gone, but if they do figure out a cap friendly way to have Pep around for another year while adding Bennett, that would provide a solid bookend on the line.
The Shutdown Corner of Yahoo Sports predicts he ends up in Chicago too.
Michael Bennett, Seahawks, DE: He took a risk by signing a one-year deal with Seattle, and it paid off with a Super Bowl championship. Tampa Bay did not want to pay Bennett, Seattle acquired him at a bargain price, but he expects to get paid this offseason. Best fit: Bears
He will get paid, but negotiations with the Seahawks are still ongoing. Their exclusive window to make a deal expires in just a few days, then other teams can begin talking with Bennett and his agent.
The Around The League Staff from NFL.com also speculate Michael to the Bears.
Bennett to the Bears makes too much sense from an on-field perspective. The Bears are desperate for an edge rusher, and Bennett has been one of the most underpaid and underrated pass rushers the past two seasons. The ancillary benefit of pairing him with comical younger brother Martellus is almost too good to pass up. Who wouldn't love a "Bennett Brothers Sound FX?" The trouble will come down to money. The Bears aren't flush with cap space and have a boatload of defensive needs. Would they be willing to pay big for a premier pass rusher?
While I can appreciate the potential comic relief that he and Martellus would provide, it does all come down to money. The cap space issue has been discussed ad nauseam here on WCG among other places, and it's not really an issue. A few cuts here, and a renegotiation there, would give the Bears ample space.
Last year the Chicago Bears desperately needed to help out their offense, and general manager Phil Emery signed big money players Martellus Bennett and Jermon Bushrod to fill two huge needs.
I believe that Phil Emery realizes that he must add a couple of productive veterans to his defense, and the most logical place for him to start is on the defensive line. He'll bring back a defensive tackle or two from his own roster, but there isn't an impactful defensive end on his roster. He'll have to address an edge rusher via free agency, and Michael Bennett makes the most sense.
Do you think Phil Emery will target Michael Bennett in free agency?