When the Buccaneers placed a first-round tender on restricted free agent defensive end Michael Bennett, it was a clear sign that they wanted to hold onto him for the 2012 season.
Consider that a mission accomplished. The team announced Monday that Bennett has signed the tender offer and will remain with the team. He’ll make $2.7 million in 2012 as part of a defensive end group that also includes second-year players Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers.
There was never much chance Bennett would leave once the team tendered him at that level. While he’s shown promise in his three-year NFL career, Bennett wasn’t likely to generate much interest from teams that would have to give up a first-round pick to acquire him.
It’s a good deal for Bennett as well. Spots on the Bucs defense figure to be up for grabs under a new regime and Bennett did a good job for them before getting hurt last season. If Bennett shows more progress, he will likely land a longer deal around this time next year if he hasn’t already signed an extension in Tampa.