There is no question that Bears could use some help at defensive end, especially with Julius Peppers‘ future with the team is at least in some doubt, but until Peppers’ contract and cap figure are addressed, it’s going to be hard for the Bears to seriously shop for upgrades in free agency.
John Mullin of CSN Chicago writes that while the idea of signing Bennett makes sense, the Bears will be “severely squeezed” in regards to their available cap space, even with Peppers accepting a reduced salary.
Mullin mentions that Bennett could end signing a similar contract to the one fellow Seahawks DE Cliff Avril received last year — two-years, $13 million.
There is also the chance that Bennett could offer Chicago a bit a discount to join the same team as his brother, but after striking in free agency last year, it seems more likely that Bennett look to secure the best deal he can get at this point in his career.
Bennett, 28, was forced to sign a one-year contract worth $5 million with the Seahawks, despite coming off of a decent 2012 season for the Buccaneers in 2012. The floor seemed to fall out of the defensive end market last year, which led to a number of players accepting limited contracts including: John Abraham, Dwight Freeney, and Shaun Phillips.
Bennett did his best to increase his market value this year by tallying 8.5 sacks for the Seahawks defense. Pro Football Focus actually has had him rated as a top-10 4-3 defensive end for the past two years.
We have Bennett listed as the No. 8 player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.