SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 09: Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers is tackled by Michael Bennett #71 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Michael Bennett has officially signed his restricted free agent tender worth approximately $2.7 million. With that signing, Bennett officially returns to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2012 NFL season. That's good news for the Bucs, as Bennett had a breakout season in 2012 with four sacks and a team-leading 12 tackles for loss, despite missing two games. If Bennett had not signed the tender, another team could have offered him a contract. The Bucs would have had the option of matching that offer, or receiving a first-round pick from the team that signed Michael Bennett - but given the price, that was unlikely to happen.
The Bucs have offered tenders to three other players: a right-of-first-refusal tender to Demar Dotson, and minimum tenders for exclusive rights free agents Preston Parker and Legarrette Blount. It appears those players have not signed their tenders yet, but they have little choice. While someone could theoretically offer Dotson a contract, given his complete lack of playing time he's extremely unlikely to garner interest. As for Parker and Blount, if they don't sign their tenders, they will not play in the NFL this year - and they'll be in the exact same situation next year. Exclusive rights free agents don't have many options in today's NFL.