The New York Giants are not likely to sign defensive end Michael Bennett on the free-agent market this offseason and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided not to slap Bennett with the $11 million franchise tag this week, which means he will be free for any team to acquire beginning on March 12th.
However, given the Giants current salary cap situation, there is a less than slim chance Big Blue can find adequate funds to bring Bennett onto the roster. Regardless, Bennett's impending departure from Tampa Bay could still have a significant impact on the Giants offseason, as the team is still attempting to re-sign his slightly younger brother Martellus Bennett for the upcoming 2013 campaign.
Previous reports indicate that the Bennett brothers had a strong desire to play together next season, and Tampa Bay seemed like a perfect fit. The Buccaneers are one of few teams around the NFL with the salary cap space and the positional need for the services of both Bennett brothers, which led pundits to believe that the two would find a way to make it work. However, given that Michael Bennett has proclaimed he is "probably done" as a Buccaneer, that scenario seems to have gone by the wayside.
Regardless of Michael Bennett's situation, Tampa Bay still needs a tight end. The Bucs started an aging veteran in Dallas Clark at tight end for the majority of the 2013 season and have no long term answer currently on the roster. If the Bucs decide they want to pursue Martellus Bennett, they will be able to outbid the Giants.
However, it probably does not sit well with Martellus that his older brother was just let go by the team after having a career season. The NFL is a business and usually players are able to stay put personal issues aside during negotiations, especially with the mass amounts of money being given out to deserving athletes. That's why Martellus has an agent to advocate for him and make sure he maximizes his market value.
We also know that as a person, Martellus Bennett is about as lively and unpredictable as they come. His personality was not well received in Dallas; however, he quickly became a fan favorite in New York after nicknaming himself the "Black Unicorn." Martellus is even on record stating he would consider giving the Giants a "hometown discount" in order to further develop his chemistry with Eli Manning and establish himself as one of the more productive tight ends in the NFL. There's no telling what his mindset is and how his brother's situation will effect what team he plays for in 2013.
The Giants have a lot of decisions to make this offseason. With the limited salary cap room the team has to spend, it's going to be extremely difficult for the team to match a significant offer for Martellus Bennett. Given the recent string of success tight ends have had catching passes from Eli Manning, it may be wise to fill the void with a cheaper option. However, one of Big Blue's main competitors for Bennett's services may have just suffered a setback. It may only slightly improve the Giants chances of retaining Bennett, but it may just be enough to keep him in Blue next season.
See: Big Blue View offers a similar take on this situation (written prior to Giants 101).
Also…Dallas, Dallas Clark, discount, Eli Manning, Football, Martellus Bennett, Michael Bennett, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers