Michael Bennett goes from Seahawks to Eagles for Marcus Johnson plus pick
It’s been rumored for quite awhile, and now it’s done. The Seahawks traded defensive standout Michael Bennett to the Philadelphia Eagles today.
Michael Bennett was a key factor in the ferocious Seahawks defense during his five years with the team. No longer, as he will now terrorize opposing quarterbacks for the Philadelphia Eagles. Bennett himself said at the end of the season he expected to be gone, and now he is.
The details of the trade: The Seahawks send Bennett and a seventh round pick for wide receiver Marcus Johnson and a fifth round pick. The main reason for the trade was financial, of course, as the Seahawks clear Bennett’s $30 million contract off the books. They also save $2.2 million against the cap with the trade.
The Seahawks have never been disappointed in Michael Bennett’s play. However, it’s true that his performance has dropped a bit over the past few years. He still had 8.5 sacks last season, and made the Pro Bowl for the third straight year. But as we’ve mentioned before, Pro Football Focus showed his performance declining slightly each of the last four years, from a high of 90.4 in 2014 to 80.6 last season.
Bennett battled a series of nagging injuries all year as well. To his credit, he never missed a game, and turned in another Pro Bowl season in 2017. But he turns 33 this year, and it’s unlikely he’ll his next three years will be as good as his previous three. I have to admit, I won’t miss the off-sides penalties, but I will miss Bennett.
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Michael Bennett versus Marcus Johnson
Bennett is still an excellent player, make no mistake about it. So what are the Seahawks getting in return? A rookie the Eagles signed as an undrafted free agent. A player who only got into 10 games. Even worse, Johnson only made five catches all year. Wow, seems like Seattle really got taken here, right?
Not so fast. Let’s look at Johnson’s college career. He played three years at the University of Texas. As a sophomore he had 22 catches for a 15.9 yard average and two touchdowns. He didn’t seem to develop any further from that promising start; which undoubtedly goes a long way to explaining how he wasn’t drafted in 2017. From Gil Brandt’s report in 2016 on sleeper picks:
"Marcus Johnson, WR, TexasHad he been invited to the combine, Johnson (6-0 7/8, 204) would have been the strongest wide receiver there; he had 22 bench reps at Texas’ pro day on March 23. His other numbers, including an 11-3 broad jump, stood out to the 31 teams that sent representatives to Austin. He did a nice job catching the ball, too.» Pro day results: 40: 4.38, 4.45 | VJ: 37 | BJ: 11-3 | Short shuttle: 4.39 | Three-cone: 7.26 | Bench 22"
So he can fly, and he’s strong. I’m not about to suggest he’ll be a starter for the Seahawks, or that he’ll match the achievements of a certain undrafted free agent who became a two-time Pro Bowler. But the Seahawks got a potential player in Johnson.
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Overall, not bad. They save a little money now, clear a lot of money over the next two years as well, and improve their draft prospects. I hate losing Bennett, but I think the Seahawks did well with this move. Compared to a potential move of Earl Thomas, this is a move Seattle can handle better on the field.
Off the field, much has been said and written about Bennett’s various social and political stances. I think he’s done immeasurably more for the community at large than most realize. He works as hard to obliterate poverty and injustice as he does to obliterate quarterbacks. I for one will miss Michael Bennett.