Seattle re-signs free agent DE Michael Bennett
By TIM BOOTH — Mar. 10, 2014
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Michael Bennett gambled last offseason that
playing on a one-year deal in Seattle would pay off in the future with
the long-term contract he always wanted.
He was proven to be correct. Bennett now has a Super Bowl title and a
new four-year contract that will keep him with the Seahawks.
"I don't know if there was any doubt, but there was a lot of
speculation a lot of teams tried to get me to come there," Bennett said
Monday after signing his new deal. "But ultimately I wanted to come
back and play with these guys and win some more games."
Bennett was considered one of the top free agents in the NFL after a
breakout season with the Seahawks where he led the team in sacks and
proved a versatile option as a defensive end and defensive tackle. But
he never made it all the way to the start of free agency Tuesday after
the Seahawks came up with a satisfactory deal.
Terms were not announced by the team. Pro Football Talk reported
Bennett's deal was worth about $28.5 million with $16 guaranteed.
Bennett said there were other teams offering more money, but the
guaranteed amount was most important.
Bennett was thought to have been strongly pursued by Chicago, where he
had a chance of joining his brother, Martellus, with the Bears. But he
ultimately decided to return to Seattle.
"Yeah there was more, but I wanted to be here man. There are a lot of
young guys here, and there are a lot of winning ways and I just love
the organization and the things that they are about. I love the staff,
from the equipment staff to the medical staff; it just goes on and on."
Lost in the speculation about Bennett's future was his history with
Seattle and specifically defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. The Seahawks
signed Bennett as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M in
2009 and gave him a spot on their roster for the start of that season
when Quinn was his defensive line coach. Even though he was eventually
waived and claimed by Tampa Bay, that initial relationship with Seattle
It's partly why Bennett jumped at the chance to return last offseason
with Quinn as the new defensive coordinator, even if it meant playing
on a one-year deal that paid only $3 million in base salary. It's also
a factor in why he's staying now.
"At the end of the day, it was about being comfortable and being in a
good situation," Bennett said. "Sometimes going to a whole other
organization doesn't work out the way it worked out for me coming here
and being with these guys. A lot of times people take a lot of money
and they go to places and they're not what they turned out to be. I
know what this place is. I'm familiar with the staff and players and it
makes a big deal to be here."
Seattle seemed to understand what it would take to retain Bennett. The
Seahawks parted with defensive end Red Bryant and wide receiver Sidney
Rice to create additional salary cap space. Coach Pete Carroll and
general manager John Schneider have been steadfast that their top
priorities in free agency were retaining their own players and not
making big splashes by signing others. Bennett was at the top of the
list with wide receiver Golden Tate not far behind.
Bennett had 8½ sacks in the regular season and a fumble return for a
touchdown. His numbers would have likely been higher had the Seahawks
figured out earlier in the season how best to utilize their defensive
Bennett had even more impact in the playoffs. He had a forced fumble
and recovery that gave Seattle an early lead in the NFC divisional
playoff win over New Orleans, and added one sack, a forced fumble and a
fumble recovery in the NFC championship game against San Francisco.
"We had hopes he would be a real contributor and he exceeded our
expectations and we're excited to keep him," Carroll told SiriusXM NFL
Radio on Monday. "He's got great energy, a terrific motor and he's a
very versatile football player. We really need to play him more. He
didn't play a lot of plays the first half of the season, we specialty
played him, and then we played him more as the year went on. We got
better and he helped us. We're excited about it."
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