When the Seahawks added defensive end Michael Bennett as a free agent this offseason, it looked like a case of the rich getting richer.
Seattle had Bruce Irvin heading into his second year and they had already signed Cliff Avril to provide more punch at a spot where the Seahawks hope to get Chris Clemons back from a torn ACL at some point in the regular season. It may have looked like Bennett was gilding the lily, but it hasn’t really turned out that way.
Irvin will miss the first four games of the season while serving a suspension and Avril’s been held out of practice with a foot injury all spring, leaving Bennett as the only Seahawks defensive end who they can count on to be on the field now and on the field in September. It’s far from an ideal situation, made worse by the fact that Bennett’s not entirely healthy.
He played all last season with a torn rotator cuff and is putting off surgery that he will need to have at some point in order to remain on the field. It’s a decision Bennett is confident will work out just fine.
“It’s not an issue at all,” Bennett said, via Eric D. Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune. “I played through it. It’s something that I have to deal with. But it’s not going to stop me from succeeding. It didn’t last year, and it won’t this year.”
Bennett is learning three roles on the defensive line — the weak-side “Leo” and strong-side defensive end positions as well as pass-rushing defensive tackle on third downs — so he should have plenty of opportunities to prove that he’s right about succeeding. If he is, the Seahawks will wind up with the depth they were hoping for when they signed Bennett even if the depth chart stacks up differently than anticipated.