In comments before his dinner and auction to raise money to fight childhood obesity, Bennett acknowledged he has asked the Seahawks for a new contract and for now is staying away from team activities in hopes of getting a new deal.
Michael Bennett’s presence at a dinner in Bellevue for his foundation Friday night speaks to his stated desire to set down long-term roots in the Seattle area.
His absence from the team’s Organized Team Activities this week, however, speaks to another desire — to get a new contract from the Seahawks.
And in comments before his dinner and auction to raise money to fight childhood obesity, Bennett acknowledged he has asked the Seahawks for a new contract and for now is staying away from team activities in hopes of getting a new deal.
“Trying to get the contract right,’’ said Bennett, when asked about sitting out the first three OTAs this week. “I’ll be there shortly. I don’t know when I’ll be there. Depends on the team and stuff. See how it works out.’’
Bennett is entering the second season of a four-year contract worth up to $28.5 million, with $16 million guaranteed, signed in March 2014, just days before he could have become an unrestricted free agent.
That ranks him tied for 14th in average salary per year ($7.125 million) among defensive ends in a 4-3 defense, according to OvertheCap.com.
Bennett said he would like to be paid at least among the top eight at his position. According to OvertheCap.com, that would give Bennett a yearly average salary of $10 million.
“Somewhere near the top seven at my position, top eight at my position,’’ Bennett said. “Not a lot of guys play inside and out (meaning both tackle and end). Not a lot of guys do what I do. So I feel like I should be somewhere near there.’’
Bennett played almost 85 percent of the snaps for the Seahawks last season. That ranked Bennett ninth among all defensive linemen in the NFL, according to FootballOutsiders.com.
“I just want to be in the realm of the guys that play like me,’’ he said. “There are only so many guys that do what I do, and I would love to be like somewhere in there where they are at.’’
Bennett, who is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, said he has had “a couple conversations’’ with the Seahawks about his contract, but none since OTAs began last Tuesday.
But Bennett said “it’s understandable’’ that the team has not talked to him recently. “They are going to do their thing and I have to do what I have to do,’’ he said.
It’s been regarded as unlikely, at best, that the Seahawks would seriously consider renegotiating Bennett’s contract in large part due to the team’s stated policy of not redoing deals that have more than a year remaining.
Bennett, who led the Seahawks in 2014 with seven sacks, hinted that his holdout could end when the Seahawks hold a mandatory mini-camp in mid-June. Players can be fined roughly $70,000 for skipping mini-camp.
Asked how long he would stay away, Bennett smiled and said: “I will miss whatever I can miss. Depends how much the fine is.’’
Indeed, Bennett wasn’t letting any unhappiness with his contract affect his typically unique style Friday — he wore a tuxedo with shorts to the dinner at El Gaucho, where among the auction items was the Seattle Police Department bike that Bennett rode around CenturyLink Field following the NFC Championship Game win over the Packers.
Bennett’s desire for a new deal has led to rumors that he would like to be traded, one specifically mentioning Atlanta. But Bennett reiterated what he has said previously in regard to those stories, that he hopes to stay in Seattle.
“I see myself being with the Seahawks,’’ he said. “I think we have something special here and the things that we do in the community, the players that we have and the team and the coaches. I think it’s a great organization. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the business part of it, and sometimes people see your value as something else and sometimes you see your value as something different, and it’s just part of the business.
“. … We’ll see what happens. The ideal situation would be that I get a raise and that will be something great.’’