Bennett Gets Tendered, Plus Some DT Talk
March 08, 2012 at 09:47am by Scott • 4 Comments »
Michael Bennett is a restricted free agent, and that’s as far as his association with free agency will go this season. The Bucs slapped a first-round tender on Bennett yesterday, meaning that while Bennett will be free to negotiate with other teams next week, the Bucs will have the right of first-refusal in matching any offer he gets. And if they don’t match it, the other team will have to give up a first-round pick to the Bucs to sign Bennett. And that just isn’t going to happen. Despite a couple highlights during prime time, Bennett is still under the radar in the NFL. And that’s good for the Bucs.
It’s a great move to keep a good, versatile player on the defensive line. The starters on that line are likely going to be the first and second round draft picks from the past two years, but they need to retain some of the quality depth they have. Along with Bennett, they’ll have Roy Miller, Frank Okam, George Johnson and Tim Crowder under contract, all solid players. Plus they already have some camp meat under contract. Seems like they have the defensive line taken care of.
The thing is that this draft is pretty deep at defensive tackle. And Mark Dominik knows how to take advantage of a draft’s strengths. No DT is worth the #5 overall pick and I don’t see the Bucs trading down, but I could see them spending their second, third or fourth rounder on a DT. A guy like Kendall Reyes (UConn) might work. He’s moving pretty quickly up the draft boards because of his good combine, but he’ll still be available in the second round (possibly the third given the depth of the position). Great athleticism, but needs technique coaching. He’s not necessarily a penetrator and would probably play nose and give Miller some competition. Or if the Bucs wait until the late rounds to go after some DT depth, they could look at Akiem Hicks (Regina). Yes, I said he went to the University of Regina, which is in Saskatchewan (it’s in Canada — look it up you lazy shits). Hicks started off at Sacramento Community College but transferred to LSU. The trouble was that he may have (read: definitely) accepted money from the school, making him ineligible. So he transferred again to Regina where he has been playing the Canadian game. He had a fantastic East-West Shrine Game (got off the ball really fast) and has all the measurables. He’s a project, but could develop into some solid depth with a year or two of NFL coaching.