3:18pm: Bennett’s deal is actually only worth $28.5MM over four years, according to Florio, who says Bennett turned down more money from two other clubs to return to Seattle. Florio confirms that $16MM of that total is guaranteed.
3:08pm: Bennett has officially re-signed with the Seahawks, the team announced (via Twitter).
2:40pm: One of the top free agents on the market will be returning to the Super Bowl champions, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Florio reports (via Twitter) that the Seahawks and defensive end Michael Bennett have reached agreement on a four-year contract. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com confirms the deal (via Twitter), and adds that it should be in the neighborhood of $34MM for four years, for an average of between $8-$8.5MM annually. $16MM will be guaranteed, says John Clayton of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
While Bennett received serious interest from the Bears, it appears the Seahawks were always his first choice if the team could find a way to make a deal work. With long-term commitments to Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, and Russell Wilson on the horizon, there were questions about whether the Seahawks could afford to invest significant dollars in Bennett, who probably would’ve received more significant offers on the open market. However, it appears the two sides reached a compromise that still represents a very nice payday for the 28-year-old, who settled for a one-year deal in 2013.
When Greg Hardy was removed from the free agent market by the Panthers’ franchise tag, Bennett became the top pass rusher of this year’s class, having racked up 8.5 sacks and 65 quarterback pressures for the Seahawks last season. While he didn’t play a full-time role in Seattle last season, he contributed to a pass rush that anchored the league’s top-ranked defense and played a large part in the team’s postseason run. According to Pro Football Focus’ metrics, Bennett’s was the NFL’s fifth-best 4-3 defensive end in 2013 — his 617 defensive snaps were also the fewest of any ends in PFF’s top 10, making his overall grades and stats even more impressive.
With Bennett back in the fold, the Seahawks may have to release Chris Clemons or others to help clear cap room.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.