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NFL Free Agent Rumors: Michael Bennett, Red Bryant, Josh McCown, James Jones

NFL Free Agent Rumors: The latest news swirling around Michael Bennett, Red Bryant, Josh McCown, James Jones, and more.

Michael Bennett
Michael Bennett

Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Arguably the top offseason priority for the Seattle Seahawks is re-signing Michael Bennett, who led the team with 10 sacks last season while playing on a one-year pact. Bennett has previously stated he is unwilling to give Seattle a hometown discount to stay with the Super Bowl champions, but it appears as if the Seahawks are making all the necessary moves to make Bennett an offer he can’t refuse.

According to FOX Sports, the Seahawks are expected to release defensive lineman Red Bryant to free up cap space in an effort to retain Bennett. Bryant totaled just 1.5 sacks during the 2013 season and carries an $8.5 million cap hit this offseason.

While Seattle has its eyes on Bennett, a market may already be developing for Bryant.

According to ESPN’s latest NFL free agent rumors, the defensive linemen-hungry New England Patriots could be a landing spot. The team showed an interest in signing Bryant during the 2012 offseason when he was a free agent, but Bryant opted to re-sign with Seattle despite New England’s strong push.

“The Patriots were interested and I definitely was listening,” Bryant said told ESPN after agreeing to a five-year deal with the Seahawks in 2012. “I thought it was a great opportunity for me, and the likelihood of me going there (New England) was high.”

The Patriots’ rival, the New York Jets, are in the market for a veteran backup this offseason  to help Geno Smith develop. According to the New York Daily News, the team has interest in Josh McCown of the Chicago Bears and Matt Schaub, who is expected to be released by the Houston Texans.

The report indicates that the Jets view McCown not only as a backup but a viable starting option should Smith regress in his second season as a starter. In addition, the team has interest in Schaub, but the former Texans quarterback doesn’t have interest in backing up Smith. Perhaps he is focused on signing with a team where he can start Week 1.

The Detroit Lions are also on the lookout for a backup, MLive.com reported. Shaun Hill remains Matthew Stafford’s backup, but general manager Martin Mayhew said he wants to consider all of his options this offseason.

“We’ll get into the free agency market and see what it looks like and see if there’s a veteran out there that’s right for us, that we feel comfortable with,” Mayhew told MLive.com

Veterans such as Matt Cassell, Chad Henne, and Matt Flynn may be options for the Lions.

The Green Bay Packers let Greg Jennings walk in free agency last offseason, and perhaps James Jones will face a similar fate. The Journal Sentinel reported Jones has not been offered a new contract and it’s unlikely he will be. It doesn’t help that coach Mike McCarthy gave Jarrett Boykin a singing endorsement.

“I’m as high on Boykin as anybody in our building,” McCarthy said of Boykin, who hauled in 49 passes for 681 yards and three touchdowns in his second season. “He had a heck of a year, and I still think he has another jump in him.”

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