Even with popular players like Marshawn Lynch, who rode off into the sunset after he announced his retirement, and Ricardo Lockette, who hung up his pads due to injuries, Seattle Seahawks fans have a few reasons to smile next year, one of them being defensive lineman Michael Bennett.
Although Bennett was not at the team’s voluntarily training program, he will practice alongside his team in July. In an interview after his Ocean Health Fest event, Bennett said he is not thinking of holding out for training camp. While he wants a new deal, Bennett has another goal in mind — to help his team win another Super Bowl championship.
Last season the Seahawks were one win away from competing in their third consecutive Super Bowl — that is until they lost to the Carolina Panthers 34-21 in the NFC Divisional playoffs, a loss Bennett said “left a nasty taste in my mouth.” He’s also looking to earn “Defensive MVP of the Year” honors in 2016.
Bennett’s tenure with the Seahawks began in 2009 when he was picked up undrafted as a free agent. The team put him on waivers and he was picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He returned to Seattle in 2013, signing a one-year contract, and has become a vital member of the team’s defense. He signed a four-year contract extension in 2014 worth $28.5 million with $16 million guaranteed.
In the 2015 season he had a career high of 52 combined tackles — 19 assisted and 33 solo — and 10 sacks. He also played in his first Pro Bowl.
Bennett’s contract runs out in 2017. His mindset is a change from last season when he was contemplating holding out for contract renegotiations. In an interview with “ESPN’s Brock and Salk Show,” Bennett said his “wife wouldn’t let him” hold out on his contract. I think Bennett is taking a good approach in this situation.
Last year Bennett’s teammate, strong safety Kam Chancellor, drew the ire of fans and critics when he held out for contract negotiations and missed training camp and the first two games of the season. The Seahawks were also in negotiations for a contract extension with quarterback Russell Wilson, who was at the end of his rookie deal.
The Seahawks were able to resolve the contract extension with Wilson and it seems to be paying off. In 2015, Wilson had his best season stat-wise and broke numerous Seahawks single season passing records, including most passing yards (4,024), most passing touchdowns (34) and highest passer rating (110.1). He became the first Seattle quarterback to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season, and finished the year with the highest passer rating in the NFL.
As for Chancellor, his decision to return to the team after missing the first two games probably helped save his career. He didn’t have the best season in terms of stats, but it was enough to earn him a spot on the 2016 Pro Bowl. His biggest moment of the season, perhaps, came during the Wild Card game with the Minnesota Vikings when he forced Adrian Peterson to fumble, which led to the Seahawks scoring a field goal to lead the game 10-9 and clinch the win.
It’s admirable that Bennett is putting the team before himself and wants to help them win another Super Bowl. It shows good faith to fans and the franchise.
That said, why shouldn’t Bennett ask for more money, especially if he continues to play at a high level and contribute to his team’s success?
If the Seahawks do make it to the postseason and even win the Super Bowl — and Bennett has a productive year and earns Defensive MVP honors in the process — it will give him more leverage when he and the Seahawks finally go to the bargaining table.