The Seahawks locked up Bennett Monday for the next four years, per Pro Football Talk:
DE Michael Bennett strikes deal with Seahawks. Four years. Terms coming.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 10, 2014
John Clayton of ESPN provides more details on the contract:
Michael Bennett is going to get $16 million guaranteed in his $32 million deal— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) March 10, 2014
However, Pro Football Talk is reporting a lower salary figure:
DE Michael Bennett takes less to stay in Seattle, via a four-year, $28.5 million contract http://t.co/YORfFV8X3x— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 10, 2014
Seattle confirmed the news with an announcement on Twitter, capturing a photo of Bennett signing:
Bennett took the time to express his appreciation for the fans and his excitement about returning to the Seahawks:
I m back I m happy super bow champ .The 12th man is the biggest reason I came back the best fan— Michael Bennett (@mosesbread72) March 10, 2014
That contract was clearly one that Bennett respected, as he said he wouldn't do Seattle any favors during the contract negotiations.
When asked about whether he would sign a lesser contract to stay in Seattle, Bennett made it known that he would test free agency if he didn't get the numbers he wanted, per Kevin Patra of NFL.com:
There’s no such thing as a discount. This is not Costco, this is not Walmart, this is real life. There’s no discount, really, because you don’t go out there and give a discount effort. You go out there and give the best effort every day, you fight for your teammates, and you want to be compensated for the way you perform and the kind of teammate you are.
The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end nearly matched his career highs in both sacks and total tackles in his first season with the Seahawks. His 8.5 sacks led the team, with Cliff Avril just behind him at eight for the season.
Though the move was a great one for Bennett and Seattle, the team might have to shed another contract, as Jason La Canfora of CBS notes:
Will be interesting to see if Seattle retains Chris Clemons (with a $7.5M cap hit) after keeping Bennett.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 10, 2014
With several players being cut over the last few days to make room for the salary cap and teams shopping for potential free agents, Seattle could look to release a player after re-signing Bennett.
As for the player the Seahawks are getting back, Pro Football Focus sheds some light on what would have been his possible market if he got to free agency starting on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET:
Michael Bennett was our top ranked FA & 5th ranked DE in 2013 while his work at DT in nickel vital to what Seattle D does. Big re-signing— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 10, 2014
The signing of the 28-year-old Bennett not only means the Seahawks have one of the best defensive lineman in the league returning to the team, but it also shores up a young defensive front that helped lead the Seahawks to a Super Bowl following the 2013 season.
His presence on the field is often overshadowed by the likes of Richard Sherman or Earl Thomas III in the "Legion of Boom," but his play at both positions on the line makes him a huge commodity.
With Bennett back along with nearly the entire core of players that helped take them to the top of the NFL, the Seahawks once again have the look of a Super Bowl contender in 2014.
However, having one of the best defensive linemen in the game on the opposing side is not a welcomed sight for the other teams in the NFC West.
And with the free-agency market officially opening up Tuesday afternoon, the Seahawks might not be done yet.