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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs DE Bennett will land elsewhere in free agency

Michael Bennett led the Bucs in sacks last season with nine.


Michael Bennett led the Bucs in sacks last season with nine.



Defensive end Michael Bennett has probably played his last game for the Bucs.

Bennett, who led the team in sacks last season with nine, is bound to have a higher maket value to other teams than he does to the Bucs.

Tampa Bay plans to play Da'Quan Bowers, a second-round pick from Clemson in 2011, at left defensive end. They are confident he won't miss games due to his gun charges in New York. And remember, a few years ago, he led the nation in sacks and was considered a top five pick until a knee injury dropped him in the draft.

The Bucs decided not to use their franchise or transition tag on Bennett, meaning they don't think he's an $11-million per year player. If he remained in Tampa Bay, he would be a nickel pass rusher if the Bucs plans to start Bowers were realized.

Bennett has been an overachiever, a player who exceeded expectations when he was claimed off waivers from Seattle. But in the last two seasons, playing essentially as a starter, he has 14th sacks. That ranks 42nd in the NFL during that time span. His nine sacks last season ranked 23rd in the league.    

[Last modified: Thursday, March 7, 2013 1:11pm]


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