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Monday, March 19, 2012
Michael Bennett signs Bucs' tender

By Pat Yasinskas

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers just officially announced that defensive end Michael Bennett has signed his tender as a restricted free agent.

That’s not earth-shattering news because Bennett didn’t have much choice but to sign. He’s not in a situation like Drew Brees, who has expressed unhappiness at being tagged as the franchise player by the New Orleans Saints and, at least in theory, could hold out. In fact, Bennett indicated he was happy when the Bucs placed the tender on him.

He should be flattered. The move showed the Bucs think enough of Bennett to place the first-round tender on him. It guarantees Bennett a $2.7 million salary this year and means the Bucs would get a first-round pick if he’s signed away by another team. That’s not going to happen.

Bennett clearly is a defensive end with lots of potential. He started ahead of rookie Da’Quan Bowers most of last season and was a bit of a bright spot for a team that struggled. At best, Bennett will start again. At worst, he’ll be in a rotation with Bowers and Adrian Clayborn, and those three have the potential to be a very nice trio. If Bennett can continue to make strides, he could earn a nice long-term contract down the road.