In case you missed the news yesterday, it's been reported by Adam Schefter that new Seahawks' DT Michael Bennett has a torn rotator cuff. This issue is likely the reason Bennett received such tepid interest in the free agent market and likely why the Seahawks would only offer a one year deal at $5M. There's not a whole lot that I can add to the discussion on this topic if you've read Mike Sando and Brian McIntyre's takes, but one thing I'd say is that it's probably best to wait and see how this plays out prior to jumping to conclusions as to what this means for Bennett this season, one way or another.
As Brian McIntyre pointed out yesterday, there's almost no chance that Seattle was unaware of the injury situation - first, teams run all free-agents through a battery of medical tests in order to protect their significant monetary investment in the form of a signing bonus and salary - hence the 'pending a physical' term you always hear when deals are reported. Second, if Bennett had signed and not disclosed his injury to the team, Seattle could release him under the "Failure to Disclose Physical Condition" designation - a new designation that was created (and used by teams) last year - and look to recoup any signing bonus ($1.5M in Bennett's case). Third, again, per Brian McIntyre, the proof that Seattle knew about his condition is in the pudding - the contract language:
According to a source with knowledge of the details, Bennett received a $1.5 million signing bonus and a $3 million base salary, which is guaranteed. Bennett can earn $200,000 in incentives tied to sacks and has $300,000 in "per game active" roster bonuses, valued at $18,750 each. Unlike their NFC West rivals in San Francisco, the Seahawks do not regularly use "per game active" roster bonuses as part of their contracts. In fact, Bennett is currently the only player on the Seahawks' roster who has a contract that includes "per game active" roster bonuses, which shows that the team knows there's a possible reason to suspect Bennett might not play a full slate of games in 2013.
As for what it likely means for Bennett in terms of likely recovery and/or eventual playing time? As Sando pointed out yesterday:
Bennett's shoulder was a problem for him with Tampa Bay last season. The Buccaneers cited his shoulder while listing him as probable five times over the final eight games. Bennett had three of his nine sacks during that span, two against Philadephia and one against Carolina. He had zero sacks over the final three games, his only three-game streak without a sack during the 2012 season.
For now, we'll just have to wait and see. No word on whether Bennett plans to have surgery or play through it, and really right now it's anybody's guess: he played well through the injury last season, and there are plenty of examples of players that had the injury and returned to high form. There are also examples of players with this injury that saw their productivity decline significantly. Obviously, the Seahawks are banking on the former taking place, but Seattle has been known to take calculated gambles on players with injury histories. We'll just have to see.