According to a report, the burgeoning NFC West rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks could move from the field to the negotiating table as there are rumors the 49ers are considering making a play for free agent defensive end Michael Bennett, who played for the Seahawks last season.
Teams can officially begin negotiating with free agents on Saturday and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com reported that there is buzz out there linking the 49ers to the Bennett sweepstakes.
Of course, it could be that the 49ers are throwing their name out there in an effort to force Seattle to pay more than they would like to pay to keep Bennett, who is certain to get more interest than he did a year ago, when he signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Seahawks.
Bennett had two sacks in three games against San Francisco last season and while he’s not a classic fit for Vic Fangio’s 3-4 defense, he could still provide some pop for the pass rush on passing downs.
Bennett played the first four years of his career for the Buccaneers after he originally signed with Seattle as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M. Tampa Bay claimed him off waivers in October 2009 and he eventually moved into the starting lineup for the Bucs.
Last season, he recorded 8.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and a touchdown along with 42 tackles. His best season was 2012 with the Buccaneers, when he notched nine sacks.