It’s widely believed that the Seahawks have drawn a line in the sand with safety Kam Chancellor because they fear that, if they don’t, they’ll be confronted by other veteran players who want to redo deals that have multiple years left on them. At the top of the list is defensive end Michael Bennett, who boycotted voluntary offseason workouts but showed up for mandatory sessions in order to avoid losing money.
While they should be worried about Bennett becoming unhappy (or, more accurately, more unhappy than he already is), they don’t need to worry about a holdout.
“My situation is different than his,” Bennett told reporters on Thursday. “I’ve got three kids, I’ve got a wife. My wife wouldn’t let me hold out, so I had to come to work. His situation’s different from mine. I respect what he’s doing, he respects what I’m doing too. I just come back and try to work as hard as I can and show the team the type of leader I am and the type of person I am, and what I’m willing to do and how far I’m willing to go playing in the games.”
So Bennett (more specifically, Bennett’s wife) didn’t want to lose $30,000 per day in fines along with signing-bonus forfeiture and (ultimately) game checks.
For Chancellor, the total losses will pass the $2 million mark this weekend. While only $534,000 of that comes from lost game checks, the Seahawks surely realize that, if they don’t take fine and/or bonus money out of Chancellor’s pocket, Bennett may decide to stay away from training camp next year, if he can persuade Mrs. Bennett that the Seahawks won’t ultimately force him to pay.
Apart from the possibility of Bennett holding out is the risk of, as some call it, holding in. NFL players routinely find a way to work through injuries and suit up and play. If Bennett becomes unhappy (or, more accurately, more unhappy than he already is), maybe he’ll sit when he otherwise would have suited up and lined up despite an injury. Or maybe he develops headaches or dizziness or other concussion symptoms that linger for weeks.
That’s not to say he’d fake injuries to prove a point. The point is that the Seahawks have to at least consider that possibility if they decide to pay Chancellor when they flatly refuse to pay Bennett.
Some would say Bennett has an even better case for a new deal. As PFT noted in June, Bennett’s best argument is that he signed his current contract under the impression that he’d continue to be a part-time player, participating in roughly half the defensive snaps (as he was in 2013). Then, in the first year of his new contract, Bennett became a full-time player, participating in nearly all of the snaps. That change was a “big factor” in the offseason stance assumed by Bennnett.
So his situation is indeed different from Chancellor’s. It’s different because Bennett, unlike Chancellor, is doing more than Bennett thought he’d be doing when he signed his contract. So if Chancellor gets an adjusted deal with three years left on his current contract, it’s easy for Bennett to argue even more loudly that he deserves one, too.