BY Art Thiel 01:32PM 03/07/2018

Seahawks deal Bennett for WR, 5th-round pick

Ending weeks of speculation, the Seahawks traded DE Michael Bennett and a 7th round pick to Philly for an obscure receiver and a 5th round pick.

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett reportedly has been traded to the Eagles. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

The Seahawks have traded Pro Bowl DE Michael Bennett and a seventh-round draft pick to the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles for WR receiver Marcus Johnson and a fifth-round pick, according to reports Wednesday from ESPN and the NFL Network.

Bennett confirmed the deal on his Twitter account:

Bennett, who will be 33 in November, was hampered by knee and foot problems last season but still made the Pro Bowl. He speculated after the 9-7 finish that he had probably played his last for the Seahawks.

โ€œIโ€™ll be fine,โ€ Bennett said after the loss to Arizona. โ€œWhatever happens, Iโ€™ve loved being a Seahawk. Iโ€™ve had a great career with the Seahawks. You just keep growing and keep playing the best you can. You love the organization and you love the players that you played with. Iโ€™ve won a lot of games.

“So if Iโ€™m not here, I would never have any hard feelings toward the organization. I love Pete Carroll and John Schneider and you just move forward. This is a part of football. This is a part of the sport. You move forward and play for another organization if you get the opportunity.โ€

The trade saves $2.2 million in cap money for 2018, but Seattle has to eat $5.1 million in dead money. Moving Bennett gets the Seahawks out from under more onerous base salaries — $7 million in 2019 and $8.5 million in 2020 — that were part of the contract extension he signed in 2016. It also removes a key defender in Seattle’s two most recent Super Bowl teams — he played 85 percent of the snaps last season and had 8.5 sacks and 24 QB hits — and a locker-room standout.

Bennett is a leader in the NFL’s player protest movement, including sitting for the national anthem prior to most games. He also made public allegations that he was racially profiled while being detained at gunpoint by police in Las Vegas during reports of a shooting at a casino. The police disputed his account, but the controversy went national and became a polarizing issue in the discussion about race and police.

Carroll suggested at his season-ending presser that the non-football issues may have impacted Bennett’s play.

โ€œWould it have affected yours?โ€ Carroll said. โ€œThink about what he went through; and it wasnโ€™t just on a small scale personal deal, it went nationwide. He did his best to handle it and thatโ€™s all he could do. Whether it had an impact or not, I donโ€™t know. Talk to Mike.โ€

Bennett has a book, co-written with Dave Zirin of The Nation, coming out April 3, called, Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com said in a TV interview Tuesday that part of the reason for a potential trade of Benentt was to “quiet things down” in the Seahawks locker room, despite the fact that the Bennett was voted Man of the Year by the team for his fight against social injustice as well as his philanthropy and and community work.

Johnson, 23, a 6-1, 204-pound undrafted free agent from University of Texas, played in 10 games for the Eagles last season, catching five passes for 45 yards. He was inactive for most of the second half of the season because he didn’t figure into special teams.

He could in the mix to replace WR Paul Richardson, an unrestricted free agent who may not re-sign with Seattle.


YourThoughts

  • WestCoastBias79

    A sad cap casualty and crappy part of the NFL. I’m sad to see him go, but you knew this defensive core was getting blown up due to age and cost. The Eagles, on the other hand, are like the Seahawks of a few years ago, a team with a stud QB on his rookie contract. They’re going to be a force. Maybe the NFC will get lucky and the Eagles will replace Frank Reich with Darrel Bevell to screw up their window.

    Interesting the Rams also seem to be purging expensive defensive talent.

    • art thiel

      Lots of changes around the league, now and shortly. But you’re right to lament Bennett’s departure. Good dude.

  • Will Ganschow

    Its been so amazing to have a man on the Seahawks who has contributed so much, so successfully, who has also been able to keep his stature in the NFL in perspective relative to his stature as a citizen. Best of luck with the Eagles Michael (except of course against the Seahawks.)

    • art thiel

      Bennett does some things on impulse (game conduct and post-game quotes) that are ill-considered. Then again, who hasn’t?

      The worth of the man is about how much time he provides others less fortunate.

  • Ron
  • rosetta_stoned

    He also made public allegations that he was racially profiled while
    being detained at gunpoint by police in Las Vegas during reports of a
    shooting at a casino.

    The word you’re looking for is, “lied.”

    • Steed

      Lots of people were running out of the casino, and Bennett also ran. The police didn’t point guns at, and handcuff the others, just the black man.

    • art thiel

      You’re right. The police did lie.

      • Tman

        Boy Howdy. If that iraq like stormtrooper invasion of the Casino documented on the the video is now standard operating procedure for Police…

  • Centiorari

    This trade confuses me a bit. If I asked if Seattle was interested in a player for a 5th rd pick that can play all 4 D line positions and can be counted on for 8 or more sacks while being good against the run for a salary that is reasonable for players with that level of production, wouldn’t we trade for him? Considering that our pass rush stats last year were better than its actual impact and that we likely lost Avril and S.Richardson how could you pass that up? Yet, we instead trade our best remaining D-line talent with nothing but slightly delusional optimism to replace them. The pass rushers are quickly being taken off the free agent market and we lack the high draft picks to reasonably get one as a starter. This leaves us relying on our backups from last year which seem sketchy at best. Jordan or Smith may be resigned but will they produce enough? I doubt McDowell will play again even if cleared he appears to have lost 50 or more pounds of muscle which pretty much removes him from DT position contention in the near future. Did we really move Bennett for little gain and increase a team weakness just to “silence” the distraction a bit?

    • Centiorari

      Did a little looking into the WR we got in trade, all I can say is; can we send him back? He has decent size but that is about it. Unremarkable against college level talent, went undrafted. Has been cut and waived by the Eagles and NO ONE showed any interest in picking him up for free (3 chances) and he sat on the practice squad until the trade (yes, we could of just signed him off of the practice squad just like every other team but didn’t.)

      I get that he is someone brought in to “compete” during training camp but the roster spots are really important and I’m not sure this guy is worth taking one of the WR spots coming into camp much less on the 53 man roster or even our practice squad. Since it is already done I hope I am horribly wrong.

      • Alan Harrison

        But he was such a great baller at UCLA and Sonics commentator! Oh, sorry, not Marques Johnson? Never mind.

      • art thiel

        He timed at the combine at 4.42, so that will always interest some teams. The Seahawks may see him as a Ricardo Lockette type gunner on ST, but he was inactive for most of last season’s second half because he didn’t show much ST promise. So I would agree — a mystery.

    • art thiel

      A big part of this was about moving him now before having to pay his big base salaries in 2019-20, which would preclude getting anything for him.

      At a soon-to-be 33 with injuries that nagged but did not stop him, Bennett is in physical decline. Philly knows that, but realizes that the deal is essentially one year, and they have the D-line talent to keep him effective in the 50 percent snap range, instead of 85 percent that he gave the Seahawks in 2017.

  • tor5

    Part of the business, I guess, but I’ll miss him. I don’t really understand the negativity about his activism. Even though I’m not a big fan of the anthem sitting, everything I heard from Bennett seemed like a genuine and even humble effort to promote admirable ideals. And you gotta love his love of his family. All in all, a standup guy as far as I can see.

    • Steed

      The negativity about it was all from people who were eager to be negative about it. I paid no attention to the pre game stuff, or interviews, so I didn’t get exposed to it much. It was easy to ignore. But the people who were furious about it didn’t want to ignore it, they wanted to make a big deal out of it.

      For example the NRA just came out with some BS that says the anthem protests “undermine, and change, what the flag represents.” That is inflammatory demagoguery, designed to make people mad, and mad people don’t think straight, so they are easy to direct.

      • DB

        Or, the negativity about it was all from people who didn’t like the denigration of our national symbols. You paid no attention because you don’t care. But, the people who were furious about it didn’t want to ignore it, they wanted to make a big deal out of it, well, because it is a big deal to them.
        You see, these folks support Bennett’s right to protest, and also what he was protesting; equality. Their problem was with Bennett’s disrespect of the flag and anthem as a means of drawing attention to his protest. To them, these are living symbols of our country that they are willing to lay down their lives for. They don’t take kindly to anyone throwing shade on our flag or anthem, for any reason, or for any protest. They think that anthem protests undermine and change what the flag represents. To them, this isn’t BS or Inflammatory demagoguery designed to make people mad, -its the truth. They don’t want to see this kind of disrespect becoming commonplace and its important enough for them to push back.
        Sadly, many of the people who live under the blanket of security and freedom, provided by those passionate about serving and protecting our nation, simply don’t appreciate the significance and meaning of our flag and anthem to these folks.
        Perhaps a sports example will help. You may recall when Terrell Owens ran out to mid-field after a game in Dallas to jump on the Star. That Star is the flag and symbol of the Dallas Cowboys, and the Boys were mad about it. -Not because Owens just disrespected the Star, but by extension, because he disrespected them.

      • art thiel

        If anyone is changing what the flag represents, it’s those who no longer see Russia as adversary but as an ally in a push to kill democracy.

      • DB

        Or, the negativity about it was all from people who didn’t like the denigration of our national symbols. You paid no attention because you don’t care. But, the people who were furious about it didn’t want to ignore it, they wanted to make a big deal out of it, well, because it is a big deal to them.

        You see, these folks support Bennett’s right to protest, and also what he was protesting; equality. Their problem was with Bennett’s disrespect of the flag and anthem as a means of drawing attention to his protest. To them, these are living symbols of our country that they are willing to lay down their lives for. They don’t take kindly to anyone throwing shade on our flag or anthem, for any reason, or for any protest. They think that anthem protests undermine and change what the flag represents. To them, this isn’t BS or Inflammatory demagoguery designed to make people mad, -its the truth. They don’t want to see this kind of disrespect becoming commonplace and its important enough for them to push back.

        Sadly, many of the people who live under the blanket of security and freedom, provided by those passionate about serving and protecting our nation, simply don’t appreciate the significance and meaning of our flag and anthem to these folks.

        Perhaps a sports example will help. You may recall when Terrell Owens ran out to mid-field after a game in Dallas to jump on the Star. That Star is the flag and symbol of the Dallas Cowboys, and the Boys were mad about it. -Not because Owens only disrespected the Star, but by extension, because he disrespected them.

        • Steed

          ” To them, these are living symbols of our country that they are willing to lay down their lives for. ”

          Who is “them”? People in the military that are mad at Bennett? I have heard of lots of military people who support him.

          People don’t lay down their lives for symbols. It’s the Constitution that every federal employee, elected official, and military member swears to protect, not the country , the people, or the flag.

          Do you understand why the oath has them swearing to defend the Constitution instead of the flag? Because the ideals in the Constitution are what makes America what it is, not deference to symbols, or obedience to people who decide that our flag is tarnished if someone protests.

          Playing the anthem before a silly football game is as denigrating to the anthem as a man kneeling. The military paying the NFL to honor the military is also denigrating. Treating the military as if it is the most important thing is also denigrating to America.

          Our Constitution is what we need to protect, not deference to symbols. Your military buddies should know better, like mine do.

        • Ron

          it’s not possible to respect those who complain about the flag issue considering the same people turn a blind eye to the traitorous actions of the Trump team.

          • DB

            In other words, anyone who complains about disrespect to the flag and anthem is automatically a Trump supporter. Please. Why didn’t you just say: ‘Anyone who doesn’t think like me and believe what I believe is wrong and a bad person’.

          • Ron

            “Why didn’t you just say: ‘Anyone who doesn’t think like me and believe what I believe is wrong and a bad person’.”

            That’s the flag complainers say about Bennett et al.

    • art thiel

      I would agree. But many people love to stereotype. Others can’t hold two disparate thoughts — sports and politics — simultaneously.

      Maybe I should compile a list of events/causes MB has donated time/money to explain his values a little better.

  • Steed

    BREAKING NEWS

    Michael Bennett was stopped at the gate by airport officials as he attempted to board a plane to PA. Apparently he jumped the gun and tried to get on the plane before boarding actually started. Offsides, again.

    • art thiel

      But did he go for the TSA agent’s knees?

  • Kevin Lynch

    From the burning pyre will come the phoenix…wait a minute, that sounds too close to the Phoenix Cardinals! Trust Pete and John. Keep the faith. This next season’s gonna be a scream. Not sure if that means horror show or comedy. Or something much, much better.

    • art thiel

      Keep in mind, nothing has happened yet officially. Since this is not talk radio, we can afford to sit back and watch before jumping to conclusions.

  • Husky73

    Thanks for coming in Mr. Bennett. Mr. Sherman? Mr. Carroll will see you now.

    • art thiel

      Don’t stop there.

  • jafabian

    Very uncertain about this move. So the Hawks have to pay for the dead cap space they now have? So they’re essentially paying to get rid of Bennett? With both Michael and most likely Cliff gone the D-Line is nearly as bad off as the O-Line. Is Sheldon worth $13-$16 million annually? Are Frank Clark and Malik McDowell ready to step in for them? This may open the door for the return of Bruce Irvin. With Sherman reporting that he’s most likely gone plus Jimmy Graham now an afterthought the team is no firmly back on the 3-5 year rebuilding plan. Go Sounders!!!

    • art thiel

      Dead money is almost an accepted part of doing NFL trades of veterans. Right now, the D-line starters would be Clark and Jordan at ends, Reed and Naz Jones at tackles. That’s not a bad group. And Bennett had to be moved now to get anything.

      As far as forecasting a rebuilding plan, I’d like to see who they get this March and April before making that call.

  • Parts

    Does this mean they’re re-signing Sheldon Richardson?

    • art thiel

      They may try, depending on where they end up under the cap. But good DLs are in short supply, so Richardson is in a great spot to bank.

  • 2nd place is 1st loser

    Only a 5th round pick and a WR that probably shouldn’t even be in the NFL for a Pro Bowler, plus the Hawks are eating a large portion of his salary. Begs the question, was this the best the Hawks could get or were they just looking to rid themselves of him?

  • Ron

    Ndamukong Suh seen in Seattle today, possible replacement for Bennett departure.