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Michael Bennett reportedly on the trading block, sparking questions of Atlanta’s interest

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The veteran lineman is no stranger to Dan Quinn.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Bennett is a polarizing player. I imagine there are a number of Falcons fans who do not want him on this football team, but regardless of what you think of him, you can’t really dispute that he’s a phenomenal defender, and has been throughout his career.

That is germane because Bennett is reportedly on the trading block, and the Falcons will inevitably be linked to him thanks to their deep ties to Seattle. Dan Quinn and Marquand Manuel both spent time with Bennett in Seattle, and both are familiar with the difference he can make. That’s why Vaughn McClure at ESPN is already linking the defensive lineman to Atlanta.

Bennett is fresh off an 8.5 sack season where he played all 16 games, and he’s a scary pass rusher with power and savvy. He’s also a quality run defender and can, like Adrian Clayborn did so often in 2015 and parts of 2016, play both inside and outside. It’s tough to argue that he’d be anything less than Atlanta’s second-best defensive lineman, and that all depends on just how much you like Grady Jarrett. He’s an impact player.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about the he said, he said Las Vegas incident that has made Bennett so unpopular with some fans, except to say that Bennett is outspoken, that incident remains unresolved, and if you ever advocated for Greg Hardy I don’t want to hear anything about Bennett. There’ll be plenty of time to debate this if the Falcons actually do make the trade.

Of course, the question is whether they will. While the Falcons acknowledge they have very few roster holes and are desperate to play in this year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta, I can’t see them surrendering major assets to grab Bennett, regardless of how good he may be. If they can get him for a fair price, though, given Quinn’s familiarity with him and the impact Bennett can make on this defensive line, I expect they’ll do so. Just don’t expect them to pony up more than a second round pick to get it done.

Let’s hear from you. Should the Falcons trade for Michael Bennett?