Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett did not show up for the team’s voluntary OTAs in the spring, and as PFR’s Ben Levine wrote last month, that absence was the result of Bennett’s displeasure with his current contract. Although Bennett just signed a four-year deal in March 2014, the average annual value of that deal, $7.125MM, ranks him 14th among 4-3 defensive ends. And, since Bennett recorded seven sacks in 2014 and was the second-best player at his position group per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required), he believes he has outplayed his contract.
According to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times, Bennett may consider holding out of training camp in the hopes of reworking his deal. Bennett, who makes his offseason home in Honolulu, told Honolulu television station KHON2, “Of course, I think I’ve outplayed the contract that they gave me. It’s one of those things where you have to let your agent (Drew Rosenhaus) do the talking with the team and hopefully something good comes out of it. It never hurts to try.”
As Condotta points out, however, Bennett did show up for Seattle’s mandatory minicamp last week, so odds are good that he will report for training camp as well. Furthermore, players can be fined up to $30,000 per day for holding out, and even though the team is not required to actually assess those fines once a player ultimately reports, Bennett does have some financial incentive to show up for camp.
Therefore, Condotta believes that Bennett’s recent comments are simply designed to let the team know that he remains unhappy with his contract. It is well-established that the Seahawks do not rework deals with more than a year left, so, as Condotta writes, “Almost no one thinks Bennett has any real chance of getting a new deal from the Seahawks.” Marshawn Lynch, whose contract situation was discussed ad nauseum last year, was able to get his deal partially reworked, but his holdout did not result in a full renegotiation.
And it is unlikely that Bennett will get even a reworking of his deal. He has been an important piece of the team’s success in each of the past two seasons, but with three years left on his contract, the Seahawks, who will soon be committing a significant portion of their salary cap to Russell Wilson, simply have no incentive to revisit the matter. If his 2015 performance matches what he did in 2014, then perhaps Bennett will find the team a bit more willing to talk.