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Is Michael Bennett paid fairly?

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It’s a subject that does come up from time to time

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NFL: Pro Bowl
i don’t care that we’re at the pro bowl, that’s still holding
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

(Editor’s note: A previous version of this article had some contractual history inaccuracies that have been updated. The following notes in italics are updates.)

More so than any other Seattle Seahawk, the issue of Michael Bennett’s pay finds a way to enter the news. It just has a knack for exposure. In December, Bennett signed a three-contract contract extension that satisfied his need to be paid what he felt he was worth, and the issue of Bennett’s contract is of course no longer something he makes news about.

Bennett’s contract history, of course, is then quite well documented and you might have read a story or two about it over the years. In 2013, John Schneider signed Bennett to a bargain deal worth about $5 million over only one year. The deal paid off as a much-improved defensive line — that also included the signing of Cliff Avril — helped the Seahawks win their first Super Bowl. Bennett signed a new four-year, $29.5 million contract to remain in Seattle.

The market fit that but after a year of production and an increased workload from 2013, Bennett began to make noise about being underpaid. He was right — of course he was — but should Schneider and the team have been punished for shrewdness? Many fans thought no.

Bennett never missed a game in his first three years, never took a play off (according to this biased observer’s eye test), and in December got his new money that pays him $9.8 million annually.

His cap hits the next four seasons are:

  • $10.8 million
  • $7.2 million
  • $8.7 million
  • $10.2 million.

By average annual value, Bennett is presently the fourth-highest paid 4-3 defensive end, trailing only Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul and Cameron Jordan. It is good company.

Bennett’s production has been consistent (30.5 sacks in 59 games) and his 2015 was memorable, as he tallied 10 sacks, finished 19th in defensive hurries in 2015, adding 17 QB hits. Pro Football Focus rated him the third-best defensive end in the league based on their pass-rush productivity metric (which is not a grade).

The only larger issues really become, how much can an already talent-loaded Seahawks squad afford to pay a player of his ability, will the money spent on Bennett mean another talented player is not extended or signed, Bennett’s proclivity to speak his mind unfiltered (don’t ever change MB), and the uncertainty that accompanies players over 30.

With just these four things in mind —

  • Seattle has to be more careful than most teams with who they pay big $ to. There are multiple candidates for high-end money here because there are multiple candidates with high-end talent. You can’t pay them all;
  • Bennett can ball with the best defensive linemen in the entire league;
  • He is a leader, whether or not you appreciate his style;
  • He’s on the wrong side of 30. For pro sports of course. He turns 32 during the upcoming season;

— the question becomes, is the money well spent on him, or is he overpaid?

Poll

Is Michael Bennett presently overpaid?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Yes, substantially
    (34 votes)
  • 14%
    Yeah but only a little
    (166 votes)
  • 59%
    His compensation is just
    (702 votes)
  • 15%
    No, in fact, he’s a little bit underpaid
    (184 votes)
  • 8%
    Not even close, he’s a bargain at his current price
    (97 votes)
1183 votes total Vote Now