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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Multiple teams already in contact with Michael Bennett's reps



We’ve been telling you for a while that Bucs free agent defensive end Michael Bennett was likely headed to another destination once free agency opened, and early indications are reinforcing that.

We’ve learned that a mere 12 hours into the free-agent negotiating period, multiple teams have been in contact to express interest in Bennett.

Things seem to be shaping up the way you might expect for one of the top pass rushers on the market, especially in light of the Bengals’ decision to designate end Michael Johnson their franchise player.

That took one of the elite free-agent pass rushers off the market, making Bennett more appealing. Outside of the aging, big-name ends available – a group that includes John Abraham, Dwight Freeney and Osi Umenyiora – Bennett’s main competition is Detroit’s Cliff Avril.

The Lions free agent should land a deal that pays $10 million or more annually, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Bennett’s annual compensation is more than $7 or $8 million. It’s a premium position and teams pay a premium price for talent.

[Last modified: Monday, March 11, 2013 10:36am]


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