QB Russell Wilson’s anticipated contract extension is not imminent, but mostly because the Seahawks are occupied with free agency, DE Michael Bennett has expressed no desire to be traded and DT Brandon Mebane is wanted back.
Those were the key news items Monday from Seahawks general manager John Schneider, who answered questions for 10 minutes with two reporters at the annual NFL meetings in Phoenix, including the Seattle Times.
Wilson’s contract has another year to run, but NFL teams are eligible to rework rookie-year deals after the third season. Contrary to stories last week, the major negotiation awaits an end to the Seahawks’ pursuit of free agents.
“He knows we are basically in like phase two of free agency,” Schneider said. “His people are aware that we want to be able to help our club as much as we possibly can and then we will get into talking about trying to retain guys that will be free agents next year.
“Things are calming down a little bit, if you will, on the unrestricted (free agent) front, so we are hoping to get with those guys (including LB Bobby Wagner and LT Russell Okung) and their representatives fairly soon.’’
Schneider said he was blind-sided by a tweet out of Dallas last week that said Bennett wanted to be traded to Atlanta, and knows nothing of it.
“It’s my understanding that Michael is very happy in Seattle and loves playing there, so that’s really about all I can say about it,” he said. “I’m not exactly sure where all that came from.
“He’s never asked to be traded.”
Asked whether he wanted the remaining three years of a four-year, $28.5 million deal re-done, Schneider said, “He’s never asked to be traded.’’
So it’s possible to infer that Bennett would like to see something done to improve the contract’s front end. His final year is the biggest cash outlay at $9.5 million.
Mebane, who had surgery to repair a hamstring torn Nov. 9, apparently is still in Seahawks plans despite the injury and his $5.7 million salary for 2015.
“I hope so, I hope so,” Schneider said of Mebane’s return. “We are going to continue to work through the off-season here. As of right now, yes.’’
Regarding one of free agency’s top offensive linemen, Oakland center Stefen Wizniewski, who has visited Seattle, Schneider said a deal could happen.
“Yeah — we have brought a number of guys in on unrestricted visits,” he said. “But it has to be, especially players who are added from the outside as unrestricted free agents, it has to be at a price that makes sense for us.’’
The Seahawks did inquire about DE Greg Hardy, who signed a one-year deal with Dallas for $11 million despite the fact that he may be suspended by the NFL for an episode of domestic violence.
Asked if the episode was decisive, Scneider said, “Absolutely, yeah. Yes. That was the primary thing.’’
Schneider also said he likes his defensive line depth with the signing of free agent Ahtyba Rubin — “that was a big deal for us” — and would re-sign DT Jesse Williams, a fifth-round draft choice from Australia via Alabama who missed his first two seasons with knee injuries.