The Seahawks are expected to meet this week with the agent for defensive lineman Michael Bennett about a new contract.
The Seahawks are expected to meet this week with the agent for veteran defensive lineman Michael Bennett regarding a new contract, a source has confirmed to the Seattle Times.
Bennett’s new agent is Doug Hendrickson, who also was the agent for Marshawn Lynch (as well as the Trufant family and a host of others throughout the NFL) and it is expected that he will soon talk with Seahawks brass about getting Bennett an extension of his current four-year, $28.5 million deal signed in March, 2014 (ESPN had an earlier report about the expected negotiations this week).
As detailed in this look at Bennett’s situation from a few weeks ago, giving Bennett an extension would run counter to the team’s philosophy of not wanting to hand extensions or new contract to players who have more than one year remaining on their contracts (Bennett can be an unrestricted free agent following the 2017 season).
The thought is that doing so would set a potentially troublesome precedent, that if the Seahawks gave Bennett a new contract with more than a year remaining then maybe Richard Sherman or Earl Thomas comes knocking at the door next asking for their own new deals.
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Schneider has stated just that several times, notably in a Feb. 2015 interview on ESPN 710 Seattle when he said if the Seahawks strayed from that philosophy even once then “everybody would be standing outside my office looking for a new contract whenever they wanted.’’
But Bennett’s side could argue that he is in a unique situation and not one that would create a precedent.
While many other of the key Seahawks who might be the likely candidates to want to come to the door next remain among the most-highly paid players — Sherman, Thomas, Kam Chancellor — at their positions in the NFL, Bennett does not.
Bennett currently is the 26th-highest paid defensive lineman in the NFL at an average of $7.125 million per year — Miami’s Ndumakong Suh tops the list at $19 million. Fifteen make $10 million or more per season while Bennett is at $7.125 million.
Of the 25 players rated above Bennett, all but three have signed new contracts (either extensions or as free agents) since Bennett signed his.
While the Seahawks have just $8.5 million remaining in salary cap space for the 2016 season, that’s not thought to be an issue here as an extension could be worked out in a way to still fit under that number (Bennett has a cap hit of $7 million for this season as is).
Bennett has said often since last off-season that he would like a new deal, feeing he has outplayed his current contract (a feeling Bennett reiterated last week).
Bennett fired agent Drew Rosenhaus shortly after the 2015 season and hired Hendrickson with an eye toward getting a new contract done.
While Bennett has said he won’t hold out, it’s thought he could change his mind and hold out if a new deal is not worked out (Bennett sat out the voluntary portion of the team’s off-season program but did attend the mandatory mini-camp).
It has been suggested that the team could guarantee a $1.5 million roster bonus Bennett could get in 2017 as a way to assure him some more money now. But Bennett is thought desiring something more significant.
Bennett also thought about holding out last season but said he made a last-minute decision to report. He might be more inclined to hold out this season, though, feeling he now has a better case for a new contract than he did a year ago.
Whether the Seahawks agree with that assessment will likely be determined in the next few days.