"The best-case scenario is I play this season out and see what happens after that."
That was something Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said at the beginning of last season, after he told the media that he was not going to hold out for more money despite being upset with his contract situation.
"I've got to be professional and come out here and be the leader that I've always been and help this team get back to where it's supposed to be," Bennett said at the time.
Bennett went on to play the season out despite considering a holdout right up until the last minute. Ultimately, he did not go the route that Kam Chancellor went, and had a very productive season. And, despite the fact that Bennett played last year without holding out, it's clear that he's probably not going to be a happy camper this offseason as well if the Seahawks don't do anything with his deal.
The first hints of this have come into sight this week, as Liz Mullen reports that Bennett has dropped his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
Seattle Seahawks DE Michael Bennett has left Rosenhaus Sports. He is currently without an agent.— Liz Mullen (@SBJLizMullen) February 18, 2016
This could be a disagreement over strategy, a disagreement over what went down in the past, or something else. We don't know. But it does seem to foreshadow some discord between Bennett and the Seahawks this summer.
"I play five positions," Bennett said last year, of his ability to play all along the defensive front. "I play every one of them at a high level. There's not a guy who plays like I do and is relentless every play. I put it on the line, regardless of injuries, regardless of how I feel. Not a game goes by that I don't make an impact in the game. I made plays from every position, and I think there are only a couple guys in the NFL who can do it," he said. "I can name them on one hand."
And, Bennett has a point. His four-year, $28.5M contract really is one of the best bargains in the NFL. For being an elite defensive lineman, he's very underpaid. The question of course is whether or not he'll actually take action to rectify this, or if it's just the typical offseason negotiating.
Honestly, a holdout seems unlikely. We all saw what happened with Kam Chancellor last year (he lost his holdout, and lost a ton of money), and Bennett even mentioned at one point that his wife wouldn't allow him to hold out.
"Of course I look at (Kam Chancellor's holdout) but at the end of the day my situation is different from his," Bennett said. "I got three kids. I got a wife, so my wife wouldn't let me hold out, so I had to come to work. His situation is different than mine. I respect what he's doing but I know he respects what I'm doing too."
Bennett added comments about how short your lifespan can be in the NFL, and talked about the financial burden of holding out.
"That's the thing that I worry about," he said. "When you're paying a team back, it's coming right of your pocket. After taxes, you know what I'm saying. Not pre-taxes. After taxes. That's not a good thing."
So, all those comments would lead you to believe that Bennett would most likely not hold out, even in the case that he's unhappy with his deal, which still has 2016 and 2017 left on it. At the end of the day, it may just be posturing for some sort of adjustment this offseason -- perhaps converting game-day bonuses or escalators into guaranteed money.
As Bennett said last year, "For the rest of my life, I'll always ask for more money. I'll ask for more love from my wife. I'll ask for more love from my kids. It's just one those things where I'm always asking for more."
Get ready for a lot of that this offseason.