INDIANAPOLIS – The market for defensive ends, of major interest to the Bears organizations and a number of players, semi-officially deepened on Friday when GM John Schneider was asked whether his Seattle Seahawks would use their franchise tag to lock up defensive end Michael Bennett:
"I don't anticipate that,” Schneider said during the NFL Scouting Combine here. “No."
Bennett, the brother of Bears tight end Martellus, produced 8.5 sacks for the Super Bowl champions playing on a one-year deal that paid him $5 million. This followed a 9-sack season starting all 16 games for Tampa Bay.
The situation warrants attention because of the Bears’ uncertainty at defensive end. Julius Peppers’ salary is simply too high for the production and the market, as Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio analyzed for CSNChicago.com And Corey Wootton is unrestricted but coming off arthroscopic hip surgery after spending much of 2013 inside to fill the void left by injuries at tackle.
“[Wootton] has been very good in our locker room,” said coach Marc Trestman. “He shows up every day and I think the endorsement is he shows up every day, he’s got a smile on his face and he works. And again, it’s important, but this is a process and we know going in and we said it coming out of the season, not everyone is going to be back.”