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Trade rumors continue to circle around Michael Bennett

NFL: Pro Bowl-NFC vs AFC Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks have always been active in trades under Pete Carroll and John Schneider, from acquiring Chris Clemons and Marshawn Lynch in 2010 to adding Sheldon Richardson just before the 2017 regular season. This time, however, the big name trade rumors are involving players leaving the Seahawks and not the other way around. Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman have heard their names come up, but perhaps the most likely player to be leaving via trade is defensive end Michael Bennett.

As ESPN’s Brady Henderson and others reported from the scouting combine on Thursday, Carroll noted that “conversations” are happening regarding Bennett and all potential moves in one way or another: “I haven’t talked to Mike in a while now but it’s the time of year, conversations going in all directions.”

Seattle would save $2.2 million by moving Bennett, and would likely do so before March 18, when a $3 million roster bonus is due. The return for a 32-year-old defensive end with three years left on his contract — a talented defensive end who is also known for offsides penalties, openly complaining about his contract, and saying whatever is on his mind regardless of whether or not it ruffles any feathers — may not be as significant as Seahawks fans would hope. Perhaps a midround pick in this year’s draft, at best. It would also bring more uncertainty to a defensive line that is in danger of losing Cliff Avril and Sheldon Richardson.

But Bennett could be nearing the end of his NFL term anyhow, and 2018 is arguably the last chance to get any return for losing his services.

Seattle is having conversations, as any team would reasonably do with all of their players, but it doesn’t mean that they will end up having any serious talks about moving one of their original core players from the 2012-2015 era. Or they could. Rumors persist, and that’s all we know for now. Given the Seahawks unpredictable restraint for making any transactions recently, maybe a storm is coming.

And maybe it’s just conversations.