Michael Bennett has begun a holdout as OTAs for the Seattle Seahawks begin. Rumors that Bennett would do this to the Seahawks had been floating around since after the Super Bowl, but now the reality is starting to set in. It has become very obvious that Bennett wants a raise and isn’t going to honor the contract he received from the Seahawks. So what does Bennett want? According to a report from ESPN on Saturday (May 30), he wants to be one of the highest-paid defensive linemen in the NFL.
Bennett was supposed to begin the second year of his four-year deal in 2015. He just signed it in March 2014, with the contract set to pay him $28.5 million and $16 million of it being guaranteed. He doesn’t want to play out that deal any longer, though, and has decided to make that statement during the OTAs. This holdout is likely to extend to the first three-day minicamp that will take place in June as well. Missing that camp garners a $70,000 fine for players.
Bennett spoke at length about what he wants in his new deal, stating that, “I just want to be in the realm of the guys that play like me. There are only so many guys that do what I do, and I would love to be like somewhere in there where they are at.” He went on to say that, “Not a lot of guys play inside and out [defensive end and defensive tackle]. Not a lot of guys do what I do. So I feel like I should be somewhere near there.”
Michael Bennett apparently wants to cash in on a new deal while he is still young. He is currently 29 years old and will turn 30 during the 2015 NFL season. Last season, he had seven sacks for the Seahawks, starting all 16 games as well as the three playoff games. In the two previous seasons, he had 17 ½ combined sacks, showing how important he has been to the defensive line.
The front office in Seattle has commented various times on what Bennett has been doing this offseason, and at no point has it seemed like they want to give him a raise. This is a contract that they just gave him about 14 months ago, and one that the front office was hoping he would simply honor. One big question might become where Bennett expects the team to come up with that money as they try to keep Marshawn Lynch, Bobby Wagner, and Russell Wilson happy.
This Michael Bennett holdout could go on for a while if he doesn’t get what he wants. It might force the team to start seriously exploring how to trade him and it could realistically be the end of his time with the Seahawks. Fans might be disappointed to lose his production on defense, but not many are going to side with him in this type of contract dispute.