Price Is Right: Seahawks Re-Sign Michael Bennett
With the actual 2014 NFL free agent signing period looming, experts speculated that Michael Bennett would be leaving the Pacific Northwest for a huge payday with the Chicago Bears. The Seattle Seahawks appeared to be out of contention to retain his services with his price quickly escalating on the open market.
Ironically, Bennett opted to re-sign with the Seahawks on Monday before he could even consider signing elsewhere. The 29-year-old defensive end scoffed at the idea of taking a discount to stay in Seattle a few weeks ago when he said, “This ain't Costco.” But he ended up taking less money to stay with a perennial championship contender instead of raking in the dough in Chicago. Rumors had circulated that the Bears had an offer prepared that would have 4-5 years in length for up to $40 million, and with his brother Martellus Bennett playing in Chicago, his signing seemed inevitable.
However, Bennett loves the 12th man, and has enjoyed playing for the Seahawks so much that even that lucrative offer from the Bears couldn't persuade him to leave. Ultimately, the Seahawks were able to negotiate a deal that will pay Bennett $28.5 million for four years to stay put, and the veteran decided that the price was right. Instead of hitting the open market like expected, Seattle managed to reach the deal before other teams could officially offer him a contract, taking any potential drama out of the equation.
Seattle did an outstanding job throwing this deal together, as Bennett will be making $10 million this year in a front-loaded contract. Seattle will pay him $6 million in 2015, which will open up some cap space for re-signing players like Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson. In total, Bennett's contract guarantees him $16 million, and the setup should benefit the Seahawks in the future as they try to keep this young team together for the long haul. Many expected Bennett to seek more money than Seattle offered, but his decision to stay home for less now opens the door for WR Golden Tate to also potentially re-sign this week. If Tate is also willing to take a little less money to stay with a contender, Seattle should be able to enter the 2014 season with a roster very similar to last year's championship squad.
Bennett also plans to recruit free agent DTs Tony McDaniel and Clinton McDonald to stay in Seattle for less. Both players will have strong interest from other teams, but Seattle has the perfect system for their respective talents, and staying put makes sense if they are willing to stay for a reasonable price. It'll be interesting to see how Bennett's willingness to stay with the Seahawks at a discount affects the decision-making process for the team's other key free agents.
The Seahawks also re-signed TE Anthony McCoy yesterday to a one-year contract. McCoy missed the entire 2013 season after tearing his Achilles tendon in the offseason, but he was a valuable asset during the 2012 season, and could see more snaps next season if the team chooses to cut ties with veteran Zach Miller. He caught 18 passes and hauled in three touchdowns during the 2012 season, and Seattle remains optimistic he will bounce back from a severe injury to contribute this year.