Michael Bennett won’t ride off into the sunset just yet.
“I’m just waiting to see what happens and who wants me,” Bennett said Thursday. “As of now, I’ve been relaxing getting my mind and body right. I’ve not been to the playoffs in a long time, so getting healthy is what I’m focusing on.”
Shipped from New England on Oct. 24 at the cost of a conditional 2021 seventh-round draft pick, Bennett was a hit for the Cowboys, totaling 32 tackles and 6.5 sacks across nine appearances. An instant hit, as he made history in his first Dallas game by becoming only the 19th NFL player to notch at least one full sack with five different teams.
The former Seahawk, Buccaneer, Eagle, and Patriot played 43 snaps in Dallas’ Nov. 4 rout of the New York Giants, during which he notched two tackles for loss, four quarterback hits, and a sack, operating behind $105 million pass-rusher DeMarcus Lawrence.
Owner Jerry Jones, who cut the deal for three-time Pro Bowler, had nothing but high praise after the 37-18 blowout.
“I thought he was outstanding,” Jones said of Bennett, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. “I thought he was really impactful in there. I thought you could see the team in general were feeding off of what he was bringing. Of course, very likely he was feeding off what [DeMarcus Lawrence] was doing out there and what [Robert Quinn] was doing. Still, he really is a great addition for us. I don’t use that word much, but he’s a great addition.”
Bennett is among a handful of Dallas defensive linemen scheduled to test the free-agent waters next month, joining reigning team sack leader Robert Quinn, starting defensive tackle Maliek Collins, and dependable backups Kerry Hyder and Christian Covington.
Of the lot, Jones has expressed a significant desire to retain Quinn, who delivered 11.5 sacks, second-most of his career, in 2019, dwarfing the production of Lawrence (five sacks).
“One of the top people — people, players and people — that I’ve ever been associated with,” Jones said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Thursday, via the Dallas Morning News. “He’s the real deal. … He really helped us last year. So I’m hopeful that we can do something to keep him.”
Spotrac.com estimates a three-year, $35.54 million deal for Quinn on the open market, making him the sport’s 17th-highest-paid DE. And Bleacher Report predicts the Las Vegas Raiders ponying up for his services.
The Cowboys will take $73.983 million of salary-cap space into the league’s signing period, fifth-most among all teams. But with quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver Amari Cooper, and cornerback Byron Jones all needing new deals, and only so much capital to allocate among the defensive front-seven, Quinn may be the odd man out.
Which is positive news for Bennett, provided he’d like to don the star again next season.
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