RENTON, Wash. – 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 right. Bennett 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 tackle. But he never made it to the start of free agency today after the Seahawks came up with a satisfactory deal.
Terms were not announced. Pro Football Talk reported Bennett’s deal was worth about $28.5 million with $16 million guaranteed. Bennett said there were other teams offering more, but the guaranteed amount was most important.
Bennett was thought to have been strongly pursued by Chicago so he could join his brother, Martellus.
“I wanted to be here, man,” he said. “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.”
Lost in the speculation 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 when Quinn was his defensive line coach. Even though he was eventually waived, that initial relationship with Seattle remained strong.
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.
“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.