Seahawks DE Michael Bennett considered holding out of training camp last season, feeling he had outplayed his four-year, $28.5 million contract. While he's still unhappy, he said, "of course" he will be there this year.
Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett isn’t attending the team’s voluntary offseason program.
But Bennett, who hopes the Seahawks will renegotiate his contract, said in an interview Tuesday morning on ESPN 710 Seattle’s Brock and Salk Show that he won’t hold out when training camp begins in late July.
“Why wouldn’t I be at training camp?” Bennett asked in response to a question regarding whether he’ll be there. “Of course I’ll be there. I’ll see you there for sure.”
Bennett considered holding out of training camp last season, feeling he had outplayed the four-year, $28.5 million contract signed in 2014.
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Last spring, Bennett was outspoken in his desire for a new deal.
With Brock and Salk on Tuesday Bennett took a little more understated approach, saying he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights when it came to discussing his contract.
“As a good American I’m going to use that, what’s that the Fifth Amendment?” Bennett said. “No matter what I say, it’s going to come back and haunt me. Any American wants to get paid more at their job. I don’t think there’s anybody who goes to work who says, ‘I’m happy with how much I’m getting paid, and I love it. Don’t give me any more money.’ That’s how I feel, too.”
Bennett has two years remaining on his contract. The Seahawks have an internal guideline not to give extensions to players who have more than a year remaining on their deals. If they give a new contract to Bennett (or someone else in a similar situation), other players with more than a year left might also want new deals.
Seattle general manager John Schneider said in an interview last week on Pro Football Talk that he knows Bennett remains unhappy with his contract.
“I don’t get the impression he’s fine with his contract,’’ Schneider said. “But I think he recognizes it’s a team sport, and I’m sure he sees a couple of his teammates who have one year left on their contracts (notably, receiver Doug Baldwin). He has two left on his.’’
Schneider said the preference is to take care of the players who have just one year remaining first (others who fit that category are kicker Steven Hauschka and tight end Luke Willson).
Asked about the team’s philosophy, Bennett countered, “I think the difference is between me and those guys is those guys are the highest paid at their position, so it’s a little different for me. I’m the 22nd highest-paid defensive end in the NFL. It’s a lot different between being the No. 1 person or No. 3 at your position than No. 20.”
Bennett actually is the 10th-highest-paid 4-3 defensive end according to OvertheCap.com.
He also said he has no desire to leave Seattle, adding, “Of course I want to be in Seattle as long as possible. Everything about Seattle — I love the city, I love the team, I love my teammates, love what was going on, love how we do things. I just love it here.”
Bennett changed agents in the offseason, from Drew Rosenhaus to Doug Hendrickson, with the thought being that he hoped that might spur the Seahawks to be more receptive to a renegotiation.
Bennett’s comments about Philadelphia quarterback Sam Bradford are also drawing national attention. Bradford did not show up for a few weeks of the Eagles’ offseason program after they traded up to draft quarterback Carson Wentz.
Bennett’s reaction: “I listened to Sam Bradford again. I just almost threw up. I can’t believe Sam Bradford is complaining about making $40 million in the next two years, and because he actually has to compete for a position. I’m like, ‘This guy, man, this guy right here definitely sets a bad tone of what a player should be.’ If I was his teammate it would be hard for me to play with a guy that doesn’t want to compete at a high level and feels like his position should be solidified without even putting up the stats or the wins to back that up.”