Should the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pursue Martellus Bennett This Offseason?
By Leo Howell
Mandatory Credit: Jon O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports 12/9/2012
While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers certainly improved on offense this season, there are still holes to be filled on that side of the ball. The lack of any dynamic playmakers at the tight end position was certainly evident, as Dallas Clark provided a steady pair of hands to throw to, and little else. Players like Erik Lorig and Luke Stocker will be able to hold their own in the run and pass blocking aspects of the offense, but offer no playmaking ability whatsoever.
If only there was a strong, tall, juggernaut of a tight end available this offseason, and if we could be so lucky as to find such a player who was the brother of a player on defense we’d love to keep around.
I’ll let Tom Krasniqi of 620 WDAE let you in on what I’m getting at here:
The Buccaneers would certainly do well to keep Michael Bennett, who has been a solid performer this season and could contribute in multiple positions on the defensive line next season. He posted a solid season in 2012 despite battling nagging injuries, and will hit the open market as a free agent going into 2013. As T-Kras mentioned in his tweet, he is the brother of Giants tight end Martellus Bennett, and the pair would like to play for the same team. So it would fill two needs for the Buccaneers to open the checkbooks and sign the Bennett Brothers.
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Bringing Michael back would provide a solid, reliable option on the defensive line. Michael is capable of playing both outside as a traditional end, and inside as a tackle in certain situations. He is coming off of his best year as a pro, and the former undrafted rookie from Texas A&M certainly still has room to grow. If he’s willing to take an amount that is reasonable for a rotation defensive end, the Buccaneers would be foolish to let him go.
Bringing in Martellus might provide incentive and leverage for signing Michael, as well. Martellus would fill a need, as he is a capable blocker and a massive target in red zone situations. He will never be mistaken for Jimmy Graham or Antonio Gates in his prime, but he has enough speed to combine with his massive frame. Better yet, he knows how to use his size to his advantage in red zone situations. The former Cowboy and current member of the Giants has never posted amazing numbers, but was in the shadows of Jason Witten in Dallas, and Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and the stable of running backs in New York. His ability to block and the opportunities his size and athleticism provides in the passing game will allow the Buccaneers to keep him on the field more often, and he could provide a third or fourth option for Josh Freeman on any passing play. At only 25 years old, Martellus still has room to grow, and I honestly believe he is capable of being a top 5 NFL tight end. Plus, at 6 feet, 6 inches tall, he is capable of catching the average Josh Freeman pass, which tends to be a bit on the high side.
Money is obviously a key to either deal getting done. I don’t believe either player is worthy of being paid as one of the top players at their positions, and if that is what the players expect, then let them both go to the Redskins, Cowboys, or some other team willing to overspend. If both players are willing to accept reasonable deals, and come play together in Tampa Bay, I think it would benefit both sides of the ball to have the Brothers Bennett at One Buc Place.
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