1:33pm: Bennett is “definitely” leaning toward staying with the Seahawks, and could make a decision later today, tweets Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
12:12pm: Word around the league suggests that the Bears have made an offer of $8.5MM per year for Bennett, while the Seahawks have offered $8MM annually, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). Seattle’s offer is believed to be for four years, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).
11:58am: The Seahawks have emerged as the new favorites in the Michael Bennett sweepstakes, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). Just yesterday, a Chicago Tribune report suggested that league sources expected Bennett to join his brother Martellus Bennett in Chicago, but it sounds like the Super Bowl champs aren’t letting their top free agent leave town without a fight.
Bennett, who I ranked as the top free agent available with players like Jimmy Graham and Greg Hardy essentially off the market, is expected to command a lucrative multiyear contract, and there were questions about whether Seattle could afford such an investment with long-term commitments to Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Russell Wilson on the horizon. However, Schefter reports (via Twitter) that Seattle could announce a new deal for Bennett as soon as today. Meanwhile, the Bears may be turning their attention to other targets as the Seahawks push hard to retain the defensive end, says Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).
While the Seahawks appear to be focusing on getting something done with Bennett, Tom Pelissero of USA Today tweets that he has heard the team has a chance to retain not only Bennett, but Golden Tate as well. I’d expect the duo to command a combined $15MM+ per year, so it will be interesting to see if the Seahawks find a way to keep both players around without seriously compromising future cap flexibility.