As the winds of change blow in Seattle, one of the team’s key players over the past several years is bracing to get blown out of town.
“I probably won’t be back next year,” Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett told Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News Tribune after Sunday’s season-ending loss to the Cardinals. “Just seems like it’s a young man’s game. I can see them going younger, with younger players. That’s part of the game.”
Younger and cheaper is the key. During a run that saw the team get at least to the final eight for five straight seasons, one star player after another signed big-money deals. Bennett, who received a solid but not spectacular deal when arriving as a free agent in 2013, finally got the replacement contract he was looking for in 2016. Now, it could be getting torn up.
The deal isn’t one of the team’s more problematic, however. He’s due to receive a $6 million salary, along with per-game roster bonuses totaling $1 million. The cap hit for keeping him would be $8.737 million; the cap charge for moving on would be $3.475 million.
If Bennett ultimately is cut, don’t be surprised if he becomes the next veteran castoff in New England. The original Do Your Job documentary, chronicling the Patriots’ 2014 season, made clear the coaching staff’s immense respect for and fear of Bennett. The question is whether Bennett, now 32, can still strike fear in opposing players and coaches.