Michael Bennett free agency: Seahawks emerge as favorites to sign versatile lineman

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Updating a report from last night that stated the Bears were expected to land free agent defensive lineman Michael Bennett, both John Clayton and Adam Schefter are reporting that Seattle has re-emerged as the favorites. Schefter says that the announcement could come as early as today, which is something that Bennett alluded to this morning on NFL AM, when he stated that he was going to let the suspense build for 'a few more hours.'

As Brad Biggs reports, word around the league is that Seattle is offering Mike $8.0M annually ($32M over four years, which is vague, but still) and Chicago has offered $8.5M per. Of course, guaranteed money (Bennett looking for about half of it guaranteed), signing bonuses, and 'likely to be earned' incentives all factor in. If the deals are backloaded to the last year or two of the deal, Bennett may choose to go with the deal that gives him more money up front. Realistically, the yearly average of a multi-year deal doesn't tell you the whole story.

As I wrote this morning, the NFL's negotiating period is rife with eventually-false rumors, so keep that in mind, and this is called the 'negotiation period' for a reason. Bennett has stated he would like to stay in Seattle long term (as Mike Garafolo confirms, and Ian Rapoport corroborates) so it certainly behooves him to create the perception that he's highly-valued elsewhere to possibly boost the offer that Seattle currently has on the table for him. Perhaps this is what the reported Chicago push was all about.

Bennett was on NFL AM with his brother this morning and played coy, "You just got to stay tuned, man, like a suspenseful movie," he said. "I got to leave it suspenseful right now."

Bennett talked about his brother's sales pitch for Chicago. "He got great points, but, man, I got to leave it suspenseful for the next couple of hours and go home and make the right decision. It's really hard, though. So many things play a key into the decision of where your future, where you're going to play at."

Here's this morning's segment: NFL AM: Bro to Bro

Again, stay tuned for official confirmation. Or maybe for more rumors that he's leaving.

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