A year ago, before he re-signed with the Seahawks, Michael Bennett was asked whether he would give the Super Bowl champs a Dynasty Discount — i.e., take a little less money to stay on the NFL’s best defense and the new perennial Super Bowl favorite.
His reply: “There’s no such thing as a discount. This is not Costco. This is not Walmart. This is real life. There’s no discount, really, because you don’t go out there and give a discount effort. You go out there and give the best effort every day, you fight for your teammates, and you want to be compensated for the way you perform and the kind of teammate you are.”
But he did in fact give the Hawks a bit of a break, accepting a little less in a four-year deal worth $28.5 million, including $16 million guaranteed.
“I don’t think there’s any better situation, no matter how much money is involved,” he told 710 ESPN after signing.
But, after being paid $10 million in 2014, Bennett apparently has decided he wants to head back to Costco and trade the deal in for a new one.
That will not happen. Seattle general manager John Schneider made that clear with his stance against Marshawn Lynch last year.
The question then is this: How much of a stink does Bennett plan to make about his contract? Will he push for the rumored trade to Atlanta? And when he doesn’t get it, will he hold out like Lynch did last year? Or for longer? Or, is he just seeing what he can get and willing to go back to work for the deal he signed just one year ago?
Bennett knew the terms when he signed, so it’s pretty hypocritical of him to seek more money one year later — even if he did have an excellent season and superb Super Bowl (the late brawl aside).
Schneider would not redo Lynch’s deal last year because he didn’t want to set a precedent. He told 710 ESPN this month: “If we redid a contract for Marshawn, everybody would be standing outside my office looking for a contract whenever they wanted.”
Schneider actually did capitulate a bit when Lynch held out last summer, as the Hawks moved some money forward for Lynch — basically converting $1.5 million in incentives into salary. This month, the Hawks gave him a new deal worth $31 million over three years and paying him $12 million this year.
Bennett’s situation is not like Lynch’s. The running back entered last year — the final season of his previous contract — amid rumors that the Hawks would part ways with him afterward, and the rumors persisted throughout the season even as he put together one of his best years.
Bennett just signed a new deal and was paid $10 million last year. He has a $6 million guaranteed salary this year. In 2016, he is due $4 million, plus $1 million in per-game roster bonuses. In 2017, he has a $6 million salary and $1.5 million in bonuses.
If he felt those numbers were too low last year, he should not have signed. At this point, the only thing the Hawks could do is convert those roster bonuses into salary — as they did for Lynch. But that is only if Schneider felt it was necessary — next year.
The initial report of Bennett’s displeasure, last week by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, indicated that Bennett wanted to be traded to Atlanta, but Schneider told The Seattle Times on Monday, “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. I’m not exactly sure where all that came from.’’
Schneider reiterated the team’s statement last week: Bennett has “never asked to be traded.”
But would the Hawks consider it if Bennett’s dissatisfaction became an issue and the Falcons or another team were willing to give Seattle some good draft-pick compensation?
The Falcons have the No. 8 pick in the draft this year, and they probably wouldn’t want to surrender it. But Schneider might be happy to receive two second-round picks — this year and next.
Obviously that would leave a huge hole in the middle of Seattle’s defense, and Schneider and Pete Carroll certainly hope Bennett doesn’t turn this into another Lynch drama and make them consider such a move.
As Carroll said two years ago, “We’ll need some cooperation from guys who want to be part of our team to really give us the chance to stay really strong as we move forward.”