Are Bennett/Hardy reports driven by Rosenhaus?

Michael Bennett and Drew RosenhausDrew Rosenhaus
appears to be creating quite the drama
surrounding the
Seahawks today,
apparently telling a Dallas reporter that Michael Bennett wants the Seahawks to trade him to Atlanta, where he would want a new contract, and the Seahawks are meanwhile prepared to match any offer the Dallas Cowboys make to social pariah Greg Hardy.

Rosenhaus is the agent for both Bennett and Hardy, and it seems clear he is using Dallas reporter Clarence Hill as a way to improve the market for Hardy, the mercurial defensive end who is still unsigned because of a domestic-assault case and potential NFL suspension.

Per Hill, Bennett wants a new contract and trade to the Falcons, who are now coached by former Seattle DC Dan Quinn. And Hill also reported, via KJR radio, that the Hawks are willing to match any offer the Cowboys make for Hardy.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, have told local reporters they have not heard from Bennett about a trade request (but no word on whether he wants more money). The Hawks also have said their contact with Hardy (i.e., Rosenhaus) has been mere “due diligence.”

So what is the truth/logic behind all of this drama?

Bennett wants a trade: It would be quite a flip for a guy who said he wanted to win Super Bowls in Seattle. The Hawks say he has not asked for a trade; and, with no corroborating reports about this, it seems completely fabricated. Either Rosenhaus made it up to get Dallas to sign Hardy or Bennett wants one and has not asked Seattle yet.

Bennett wants a new contract: He accepted less money — $28 million over four years — to stay in Seattle, rather than go to Chicago, last year. He’s a quirky dude, but what kind of hypocrite would he be to change his mind now?

Hawks are talking to Hardy: They investigate pretty much all possibilities, so that is no surprise. But there’s a difference between asking an agent about a player and making an offer.

Hawks will match any offer for Hardy: False. For one, he might end up suspended for as many as six games next season, so they are not going to pay for someone they won’t have. They also have salary-cap constraints that would limit any offer — although trading Bennett and/or releasing another player would give them more space. Carte blanche, though? No way.

It seems clear that Rosenhaus is trying to make Dallas think Seattle needs/wants Hardy. But, until Bennett says it himself or the Hawks actually make one of these dubious moves, it seems entirely fabricated.

What is true is that the Hawks are still looking for cheap veteran defensive line help, with Chris Canty and Anthony Spencer coming for visits. Spencer, 31, had microfracture surgery in 2013 and is not the same pass rusher he was in 2012, when he had 11 sacks. Canty, 32, would fit as a run stopper.

Seattle continues to peruse the veteran center market, too, with former Patriot Dan Connolly the latest to be tied to the Hawks. The 32-year-old also reportedly has interest from the Patriots, Chicago, Tampa Bay and Miami. The Hawks are letting Oakland free-agent center Stefen Wisniewski test the market. He is thought to be seeking $5 million a year, while the Hawks are not likely to go over $3 million.

Jeron Johnson signed a two-year, $4 million deal with Washington and reportedly was sought by Chicago and Jacksonville, per ESPN’s John Clayton.

The Seahawks reportedly were interested in wide receiver Cecil Shorts, who signed with Houston. No word on speculation that they might be interested in recently cut veteran Greg Jennings.

The Seahawks are at plus-five in the 2016 comp equation, having lost UFAs Byron Maxwell, James Carpenter, Malcolm Smith, O’Brien Schofield and Johnson while adding no UFAs (Cary Williams and Will Blackmon were cuts who do not count, and Jimmy Graham came via trade). Bryan Walters would not count in the equation because he was originally a restricted free agent and the Hawks did not tender him.

The Hawks currently are looking at 2016 comp picks in the third, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.


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