Atlanta Falcons: Why not getting Michael Bennett is a good thing

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 10: Michael Bennett
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 10: Michael Bennett /

The Atlanta Falcons didn’t land Pro Bowler Michael Bennett for their defensive line, but that may end up being a good thing in the long run.

It had been rumored for a couple of days or so that the Atlanta Falcons were discussing making a trade with the Seattle Seahawks for defensive lineman Michael Bennett.

However, on Wednesday the Pro Bowler instead went to the Philadelphia Eagles with a seventh round pick in exchange for a fifth-round pick and wide receiver Marcus Johnson.

This has been met with disappointment by many Falcons fans, who saw a defense that had already lost Derrick Shelby and very likely losing Dontari Poe and Adrian Clayborn missing out on some much-needed talent.

I am not among the disappointed.

More from Blogging Dirty

Don’t get me wrong — I think Bennett is a great player. He’s clearly an upgrade as a 4-3 DE/DT over Shelby or Clayborn. He’s made the Pro Bowl the last three years. Every year of his career that he’s played all 16 games he’s notched at least 7 sacks.

There’s no questioning his talent or his work ethic. The connection with Falcon head coach Dan Quinn is obvious. Quinn was Bennett’s defensive line coach in 2009 and his defensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014. So there’s little doubt Bennett would’ve been a good scheme fit in Atlanta.

However …

He’s 32 as of this writing. He’ll turn 33 in November. The arrow on his career is pointed down, not up. He’s under contract through 2020 and will have cap hits of $6.65 million, $7 million, and $8.5 million each year for the remainder of that contract.

To beat the Eagles’ offer, the Falcons would have had to give up at least their fourth-round pick in this upcoming draft, and perhaps a bit more.

And then there’s his knack for getting in to trouble …

He’s averaged over 12 penalities a year (including playoffs) since 2013 (mostly offsides). Remember when he lit into a reporter after losing to the Falcons in January 2017?

The play against Jacksonville on December 10, 2017 where he struck Brandon Linder‘s knees at the end of the game when the Jaguars were in the victory formation was inexcusable, in my opinion. The play is over. Linder is walking away from the play. Bennett intentionally grabs Linder’s leg and deliberately rolls up on his knees.

That’s trying to injure somebody, maybe to the point of ending their career, and it’s disgusting. And when questioned about it his response was “I don’t have to explain myself”?!

And that’s to say nothing of the August 2017 incident with the Las Vegas police and his immediate response of dealing with it by playing the race card.

There are those who believe Bennett would’ve brought veteran leadership to a young Falcon defense. If you want a talented defensive lineman to bring veteran leadership, how about Kyle WIlliams? He’s only about a year-and-a-half older than Bennett.

He’s a free agent, so no assets would have to be traded to the Bills to get him. His salary would likely be about the same as Bennett’s, though his age and less flashy stat lines could work in the Falcons’ favor there. He’s a five-time Pro-Bowler, most recently in 2016.

He’s not the pass rusher Bennett is, granted, but in 2013 he did get 10.5 sacks.

Next: Top 20 Falcons Games Of All-Time

Finally, Williams doesn’t have the knack for making a name for himself for the wrong reasons.