West Rumors: Bennett, Bosa, Broncos

Already announcing he won’t be a threat for a training camp holdout, Michael Bennett is not operating in a contentious manner toward his employer this offseason. The dynamic Seahawks defensive end, though, remains in pursuit of a redone contract as he enters his third season on the four-year, $28MM deal he signed in 2014.

The 30-year-old Bennett also acknowledges he does not reside atop the Seahawks’ figurative contract-extension queue, with contract-year receiver Doug Baldwin occupying that spot.

I think [the lines of communication] definitely are [open]. I think John [Schneider is] definitely open to it,” Bennett told media, including ESPN.com’s Sheil Kapadia, of a contract extension. “Pete [Carroll‘s] waiting. Obviously, Doug’s up before me, and I understand that, and I want that to happen. I think Doug Baldwin deserves a new contract. So do I. So does Kam [Chancellor]. So it’s just all about waiting in line and not pushing it too far and understanding what’s up next.”

Seattle still has two of the best players at their respective positions on below-market-value deals, with Chancellor set to make $6.1MM this season. But while the team has multiple standouts longing for new deals for a while, this displays the Seahawks’ acumen for identifying talent. Baldwin, who could be one of the most coveted free agent receivers in 2017 if not extended, is entering the last season of a three-year, $13MM deal but expects to discuss an extension with the Seahawks soon.

Bennett has been one of the league’s best defensive ends for a few years now, yet his $7.13MM AAV ranks just ninth in the league. Olivier Vernon now more than doubles Bennett’s per-year wages, which would seemingly add to the fuel Bennett showed last year when he threatened to hold out, especially after he finished with a career-high 10 sacks last season. Set to turn 31 in November, Bennett may have seen his opportunity for a windfall contract pass.

Here’s the latest from the Western divisions.

  • Chargers GM Tom Telesco spent the offseason hoping to be in position to select Joey Bosa but didn’t think his team would be in position to do so until after the Browns-Eagles trade gave the quarterback-seeking Eagles the No. 2 pick. “Watching Joey play in the Fiesta Bowl, I left there thinking if he does declare, and if he is there at number three, we’ve got to take him,” Telesco told Ricky Henne of Chargers.com. “… [Football operations president John Spanos] got the text and told us about the trade, and we all high-fived in the room after that one because we knew if we stayed here and picked, we got him.” The Ohio State defensive end who finished his three-year career with 51 tackles for loss intrigued Telesco dating back to his 2013 freshman season, when the then-new Chargers GM traveled to an Ohio State-Purdue game.
  • To the amazement of Spanos, Bosa’s standing within the organization did not make its way toward pre-draft speculation, with the Chargers linked to Jalen Ramsey, Laremy Tunsil or Ronnie Stanley. “We would look around at each other and say, ‘Man, I can’t believe no one knows,'” Spanos said. “… Sometimes when you hear rumors, you can piece together where it came from. In the specific case of the Ronnie Stanley rumor, I have no clue where that came from. So I was really amused, and I didn’t feel a need to set the record straight. I just sat back and enjoyed the false speculation.”
  • The primary holdup in Von Miller‘s extension with the Broncos will be the guaranteed money over the first two years, Troy Renck of the Denver Post writes. Renck notes the Broncos’ penchant for frontloading contracts to protect themselves in case of down-the-line performance declines — Aqib Talib‘s six-year, $57MM deal that features just $3MM in guaranteed money after this season is a prime example — could bring Miller’s two-year guarantee total to $60MM. That would surpass Ndamukong Suh‘s $59.9MM for the most guaranteed dollars among defenders. Renck also estimates Miller’s per-year payments will be between $18-$20MM. Miller has already been linked to seeking $22MM annually and the Broncos have offered $17MM+, but Renck expects the Broncos’ exclusive franchise tag leverage will bring that number down since Denver isn’t negotiating against other teams like the Giants were with Vernon or the Dolphins were with Suh last year.
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