Seahawks: Michael Bennett’s contract battle looms over offseason


Michael Bennett wants a new contract. The Seattle Seahawks aren’t likely to give him one until next year.

Michael Bennett is underpaid. You know. I know it. He knows it. The Seahawks know it. Just don’t expect him to get a raise this offseason.

Two years ago, Bennett too slightly below his market value to stay in Seattle. The problem here is that the salary cap shot upwards last season, and salaries moved along with it. Bennett’s contract is now well below market.

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The same thing is going to happen this offseason. By April, lesser players than Bennett are going to be making significantly more than him. Hopefully you can see why he wants a raise.

The Seahawks, and Bennett, are in a tough spot here. He has completed only two years of a 4-year contract, and the Seahawks have a policy in place that they won’t rework a deal that has more than 1 year remaining.

Now, they could break that policy, but it would be a terrible idea to do so. Once they do, everyone will start to hold out looking for an improved deal. The Seahawks endured a frustrating battle with Kam Chancellor last season, that would be just the tip of the iceberg if they caved in for Bennett here.

Earl Thomas wanted $14 mil per season, but ultimately took $10 million because the market and salary cap dictated that was the max he could get. With the cap going up, does he ask for a raise now?

What about Richard Sherman, or Russell Wilson, or Bobby Wagner? The team cannot continue to reload for each season if they have to use up their cap space providing their stars with market adjustment raises.

The key here is that the Seahawks don’t necessarily need to give Bennett a raise. What they must do is make sure that he’s happy for 1 more season. There are lots of ways to make sure he is happy that don’t involve paying him more.

Maybe they could make Paul Allen’s private jet available a few times this offseason. Perhaps they could buy Bennett’s family commercial airline tickets to away games next season. It doesn’t always have to be about his salary.

One thing the Seahawks could do make Bennett happy without increasing his salary would be to sign his brother. With the emergence of Zach Miller (not THAT Zach Miller, the other one) in Chicago, Marcellus Bennett has become a likely cap casualty.

Finding a way to fit Marcellus under the their own salary cap would be a tremendous olive branch to extend to Michael. It would be like they’re saying “We can’t raise your pay for the reasons we already discussed, but we can take care of your family.”

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Of course, signing Marcellus would also help Seattle’s offense. He’s still a very good player. With Jimmy Graham’s season still in doubt as he recovers from a torn patellar tendon, getting another starting-caliber TE on the roster wouldn’t hurt at all.

No matter what it takes, the Seahawks need to do something here. The defense NEEDS Michael Bennett next season. They cannot afford to let this contract battle become a problem during the season the way Kam Chancellor’s was last year.