Do the Atlanta Falcons have interest in a trade for Michael Bennett?
ESPN reported last week that Seattle’s veteran defensive end was on the trade block. Adding fuel to the rumors is D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, who has since reported that Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has talked with Seahawks general manager John Schneider about a potential trade for Bennett.
“No question about it, they definitely have called John Schneider and discussed the parameters of a deal,” Ledbetter told John Clayton during an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle Monday morning.
“Nothing is imminent right now. But he certainly would fit the Falcons, who are losing Dontari Poe in free agency, and Adrian Clayborn’s also a free agent. He’d definitely fit within (their) scheme.”
A trade would reunite Bennett with his former defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, now the head coach of the Falcons.
Seattle is without a second- or third-round pick in the NFL draft after trading both away in deals for defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and left tackle Duane Brown. The Falcons would be unlikely to part with a high pick – but would they consider trading a fourth-rounder for Bennett and a late round pick from Seattle?
“They certainly (could) take that,” Ledbetter said. “The fourth, it’s a key spot for them. They feel their roster doesn’t have many holes. They’re going to probably keep their first, second and third (because) they gave up their second last year to draft (Takkarist) McKinley. So, the Falcons do find value in the fourth, but when you get a player of Bennett’s caliber, even if it’s for just a couple years here, the fourth-round pick is not going to be Michael Bennett. So that’ll be a good deal for the Falcons.”
‘We’re open to anything’
Schneider was asked whether Bennett was part of trade talks during a press conference at the combine last week.
“I was reading about that last night,” Schneider told reporters. “We don’t get into peoples’ contracts, but I understand why that’s out there. The combine’s really developed into a lot more of … kind of like the baseball meetings. I’ve been here since Monday night and I’ve literally been in meetings the whole time. We’re just constantly talking to people all the time.
“Part of our challenge right now is, and I don’t know how to say this appropriately, is sustaining our level of success that we’ve had. And we’re just open to anything.”
Bennett, 32, originally signed with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2009. While he was waived by Seattle and later signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bennett eventually returned to the Seahawks in 2013. Seattle signed defensive end Cliff Avril in the same year, and together, the pair become arguably becamse the best free agent acquisitions in Seahawks history.
In five seasons with the Seahawks, Bennett has 39 sacks and 131 tackles, along with seven forced fumbles and one touchdown. He is a three-time Pro Bowler and was a member of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII and Super Bowl XLIX rosters.