For what seems like the first time in several years, the Seattle Seahawks will be entering the regular season with little to no major distractions. No current contractual disputes are distracting the team’s focus and no core players will be missing any significant part of the season (Russell Wilson recently said that Jimmy Graham will “without a doubt” play week one). *Knocks on wood*
As it stands today, Thomas Rawls might even see some action in Thursday’s preseason game.
With the excitement surrounding the beginning of the season, one potential distraction facing the franchise was a potential Michael Bennett holdout. However, Bennett was quick to dispel those rumors in the offseason. It is no secret that the star defensive end is vastly underpaid: Bennett will have a $7M cap hit. That ranks 23rd among all defensive linemen. On top of that, on an annual average basis, 25 defensive linemen make more than him. Players like Vinny Curry, Mike Daniels, Derek Wolfe, Jurrell Casey, and others all make more than Bennett. Ndamukong Suh sits at the top of the market making $19M APY. Bennett makes $7.125M APY.
Additionally, Bennett's total guarantees in his contract come in at 35.1% -- whereas players at the top of his position typically land a contract within the 40-45% range. Not only does Bennett make less than his peers on an annual basis, but also his guarantees are far below where they should be. But in the end, he signed a contract that he has to live with for now.
The last we heard regarding Bennett’s contract situation was just before the start of training camp. Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Bennett’s agent Doug Hendrickson met with the Seahawks to discuss his contract in the last week of July. Since then, there have been no reported meetings or alterations to his contract, but that doesn’t mean progress wasn’t made; Bennett showed up and has made no threats to holdout, only saying that he thinks he’s worth as much or more than some of his peers. A fact we can all agree with. So it’s safe to assume that if a meeting was set and they came out of it without an extension or the threat of a holdout, that some amicable agreements on how the following year would play out were met. He even recently said that he doesn’t ever want to leave.
It appears that the star defensive end has chosen to honor his contract despite his massive frustration with his pay level. And for that, I thank Mike B. I’m not sure I would do the same in his situation, but as a fan, it’s good to know that Bennett will be playing for Seattle in Week 1.
And hopefully in 2017 and beyond.