By Brady Henderson
Michael Bennett has made it clear he wants to return to the Seahawks. He's just not interested in taking any less money to do so.
"There's no such thing as discount. This is not Costco. This is not Walmart. This is real life," Bennett said Tuesday when he joined NFL Network and explained his thoughts about so-called hometown discounts as only he could.
Michael Bennett is in line for a nice pay day after leading the Seahawks with 8.5 sacks during the regular season. (AP)
Bennett, 28, is arguably the most significant of the Seahawks who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. He was the best pass rusher on the league's top defense, leading Seattle with 8.5 sacks in the regular season and 1.5 more in the playoffs. He did so while playing fewer than 60 percent of Seattle's defensive snaps and lining up both as a tackle and end.
Bennett has a good thing going in Seattle. Playing in front of the NFL's best secondary and in the league's loudest stadium is a dream scenario for a pass rusher. But he also has an opportunity. He's played on one-year contracts in each of the past two seasons, including the $4.8 million deal he signed with Seattle last offseason after hitting free agency and finding a softer market than he anticipated. It was essentially a bet on himself, and for a player who entered the league as an undrafted free agent and has yet to see his big pay day, this could be his best and final shot to cash in.
"Obviously you want to be loyal to your teammates that you played with and you got to a good situation with and you won a Super Bowl with, but also you have a family so you want to be in the best situation for them," Bennett said. "It's all about which team wants you. Every team says they want you, but somebody has to open up the wallet and actually sign that check, and it has to clear at Wells Fargo."
Seattle will definitely be among those teams vying for Bennett's services. And while the interest is mutual, that's only part of the equation. The Seahawks have other free agents they'd like to re-sign as well as key players who will be eligible for new deals, whether it's cornerback Richard Sherman this offseason or quarterback Russell Wilson a year from now.
"It's definitely a business, man," Bennett said. "People hate to say it's that, but it is what it is. I would love to play for the Seahawks, but they're going to have to want me back and the numbers have to be right."
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.