It wasn’t a surprise that the Chicago Bears had interest in defensive end Michael Bennett, but their missing out on him is hardly the end of the world. Here are some reasons why.
Martellus Bennett connection overshadowed lack of brother’s star power
Why was there so much hoopla happening over Michael Bennett? That is a question I keep asking myself over and over as Bears fans feel the first sting of free agency when news dropped the defensive end was declining their offers returning to the Seattle Seahawks on a four-year deal. Bennett is a good player, no doubt about it but is it fair to assume that much of the hype surrounding his coming to Chicago was more due to the constant urges from his younger brother Martellus Bennett, currently the starting tight end, to join him with the team. Martellus said it was a dream of his that he and Michael would play on the same pro team and it made perfect sense that big brother would come over in free agency since the Bears need help at defensive end.
He would never have been a serious replacement for Julius Peppers
Yet what were the realistic expectations? As stated before, Michael Bennett is a good player. He had a very disruptive year for the Seahawks in 2013, posting 8.5 sacks and creating some key turnovers in big games. Sometimes that sort of high-profile coverage can blind people to the truth. At the end of the day Bennett had just 1.5 more sacks than Julius Peppers who had 14 more tackles, one more forced fumble and one more interception while officially starting 13 more games than Bennett did. In reality Bennett is a situational pass rusher. A very good one, yes, but not much more than that. At age 28 he has never posted double digit sacks in his career and he had a lot of his success last season playing next to some dynamic rushers in that Seattle front, not to mention in front of the best secondary in the NFL.
Seattle Seahawks already achieved one goal that motivated Bennett
Speaking of those Seahawks, it’s also very important to point out that the Chicago Bears almost paid big money to a player who it could be argued was one fat contract away from losing his realistic motivation for playing professional football. After all, most athletes in the NFL strive for two goals: getting paid and winning a championship. Thanks to Seattle, Michael Bennett has already accomplished one of those goals. If Chicago had brought him in with a big new deal, they may have been paying a player who, like so many before, had lost that edge to compete at the highest level because they had their ring and now had their money. What is left to sacrifice their physical well being for?
The Chicago Bears didn’t get a player they needed as NFL free agency approaches. That doesn’t mean Michael Bennett would’ve been a player they wanted.