Michael Bennett's wish for a new contract has been granted. The Seattle Seahawks and their star defensive lineman agreed to a three-year extension Friday, according to The Huffington Post's Jordan Schultz.
Bennett, 31, has been publicly pushing for a new contract for months. While he signed a four-year, $28.5 million deal before the 2014 season—a deal that most considered to be a hometown discount—Bennett grew unsatisfied with his standing among the NFL's highest-paid defensive linemen.
“Somewhere near the top seven at my position, top eight at my position,’’ Bennett said last year of his salary demands, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “Not a lot of guys play inside and out (meaning both tackle and end). Not a lot of guys do what I do. So I feel like I should be somewhere near there.’’
After failing to reach a new deal by the conclusion of the 2015 season, Bennett fired agent Drew Rosenhaus in favor of Doug Hendrickson.
Bennett was due to make $6 million in base salary next season. Among defensive ends, he tied for 18th in average annual salary under his old deal, per Spotrac. The new one will put him alongside most players in his general skill range, which seems fair given his level of play since arriving in Seattle.
“He’s, in my opinion, probably the top defensive end in the NFL,” 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley said, per John Boyle of the Seahawks' official website. “He does so many different things, so he’s hard to prepare for. It’s hard to describe it too, it’s kind of a slipperiness. It’s hard to get your hands on him. He does a good job of controlling his body and fighting off blocks and taking away your game plan against him.”
Given his ability to move inside and play defensive tackle, Bennett was arguably one of the best values in football the last few years. That changes under his new deal. Rather than his production being above cost, it'll now become the expectation going forward. Paying Bennett at this rate may force concessions elsewhere, an increasingly common phenomenon on this loaded Seahawks roster.
As the top-end talent starts getting paid as such, the depth is going to go by the wayside. Bennett got what he wanted, and the Seahawks are keeping a great player happy. That's generally a good thing. But every extra dollar increases Seattle's dependence on Bennett's health and level of play exponentially.
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