Michael Bennett isn’t going anywhere.
The Seahawks and Bennett agreed to a reported four-year, $28.5 million deal Monday that includes $16 million in guaranteed money. As a defensive end and tackle last season, Bennett played in every game and led the Seattle with 8.5 sacks, 25 quarterback hits and added 31 tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
The Seahawks had several rivals for Bennett’s services, considered one of the top free agents available. The Chicago Bears were chief among them, hoping to bring Bennett to the Windy City where his brother, Martellus, is a tight end. But head coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider put on a heavy push to re-sign Bennett before Tuesday’s official start of free agency.
In addition, they freed up money in order to sign both Bennett and WR Golden Tate by cutting WR Sidney Rice and DE Red Bryant for a salary-cap savings of nearly $13 million. Bryant subsequently signed a four-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The 28-year-old Bennett, who went undrafted out of Texas A&M in 2009, signed with the Seahawks April 29 that year. The Seahawks waived him Oct. 10 and he hooked on with Tampa Bay, spending the remainder of 2009 plus 2010-12 with the Buccaneers.
The Seahawks signed Bennett to a one-year contract March 14 worth $4.8 million with $1.5 million guaranteed. Bennett proved to be the best free-agent acquisition made by the Seahawks.
Shortly after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, Bennett stated his desire to remain with the Seahawks, saying, “I want to be back here 100 percent. I love my teammates. I mean, Pete Carroll does a great job of letting us play. So I want to be part of that.”
Later, Bennett told the NFL Network that, while he wanted to return to Seattle, he would not give the Seahawks a “hometown” discount in order to do so.
“This isn’t Costco. This isn’t Wal-Mart. This is real life,” Bennett said.
Bennett’s four-year deal with Seattle was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.