Expect Hawks, Bennett to work it out

Bennett and LynchBarring a break from philosophy, the Seahawks will be able to do only so much for Pro Bowl defender Michael Bennett this offseason.

But it might be enough, if Bennett’s recent business move is any indication.

Neither John Schneider nor Pete Carroll has ruled out adjusting Bennett’s salary, which calls for $4 million plus $1 million in per-game bonuses, but both have cautioned against expecting too much.

Last month, Schneider told 710 ESPN, “It’s all on an individual basis. We’re going to do whatever we can to keep this puzzle together, but we can’t get out of whack either.”

On Thursday at the Combine, Carroll praised Bennett for his energy, leadership and consistency last season and said, “We’d like to reward everybody. Can’t always do that.”

Bennett surely is hoping to be an exception to the rule. Toward that end, he has switched agents.

He has replaced the often adversarial Drew Rosenhaus with Doug Hendrickson, who navigated through a similar scenario with Marshawn Lynch in 2014-15.

Bennett clearly saw how Hendrickson handled Lynch’s situation — getting the Seahawks to move around some money to improve an undervalued contract in 2014 and then negotiating a higher-valued extension a few months later.

Bennett obviously would love to be paid market value, which is $10 million a year for him. But there’s probably no way that will happen this year — considering the Seahawks have 24 free agents and Bennett has two years remaining on his deal.

The best Bennett probably can hope for is the concession Hendrickson got for Lynch: bonuses converted to guaranteed salary and a promise to talk extension next offseason. In that case, the team could move up $1.5 million in 2017 bonuses and pay Bennett $6.5 million this year.

It’s possible the Seahawks will do a bit better than that, but they are fairly limited in their ability to maneuver under the salary cap.

They have to like the fact that Bennett has moved to Hendrickson, who knows their situation and has gone down this road before.

It should make it easier to navigate this contract conundrum so Bennett will continue to bring the energy, leadership and “flair” Carroll appreciates so much.

“I respect the heck out of him,” Carroll said. “He did a great job (last) season, and we’re looking forward to another big year.”

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5 thoughts on “Expect Hawks, Bennett to work it out”

  1. The John Clayton CW is that the team “can’t” do anything for MB because if they do, there will be a line of players outside of Schneider’s office. I’m skeptical of that (for many reasons), and anyway that’s nothing that a halfway decent executive can’t handle.

    Schneider misjudged and mishandled Chancellor. (Which isn’t to say that KC didn’t do some misjudging and mishandling of his own.) Hopefully, he’ll approach MB with more finesse.

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    1. I honestly can’t say the team *mishandled* Kam, an I’m usually fiercely pro-player in money disputes, but sometimes business is unpleasant even when everyone has integrity. I think Seattle understood that Kam is nearing the end of his useful life in this scheme–and so did Kam. Carroll’s scheme doesn’t hide safeties the way, say, Rivera’s scheme hides Roman Harper.

      Kam’s body is betraying him, which should shock no one. His range now nearly a full-step slow off his peak. He effectively ended the Arizona game (@SEA) and the playoff game @MIN because of it. Meanwhile there is now no dead money charge for cutting him. The handwriting on the wall could not have been more clear to Kam. So he was justified in refusing to hurl his body into a shorter life expectancy under his deal so that Seattle could turn around and toss him out like day old bread a week from now. Kam’s was not a “show him a gesture of respect” holdout like Lynch’s. He wanted a declaration of intent. He got it. He’s likely played his last meaningful snaps as “dat dude” in on the LOB. And yet, Seattle simply could not pay him more–not after they’d just extended him. Nobody’s wrong. It’s just an impasse.

      As for Clayton’s “precedence” argument, it’s an overstatement. The Seahawks are a business, not the Supreme Court. The extent to which any negotiation sets precedent is a matter of debate, not fact. Anyone who has managed in a business or worked in one understands that exceptions are made all the time.

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      1. If Seattle really believes that KC is nearing the end, why not just cut him and be done with it? Regardless, the team wanted him last year, and there were ways to handle the situation without resorting to the blunt instrument approach. My knowledge of KC’s deal is limited to Sportrac, but from what is there, there’s a case for adjusting his guaranteed $ to put the percentage more in line with Sherman Thomas, both of whom signed after KC.

        Mike Holmgren was asked about this last summer. He related the story of Darrell Jackson, who really did get screwed by Tim Ruskell — enough so that Holmgren tried unsuccessfully to intervene on DJ’s behalf. According to Holmgren, DJ was still good, but never as good as he was because the contract and his treatment by Ruskell just plain ate at him. I fear that is where the team is with KC.

        For the record, I don’t have a view on whether KC’s contract is good or bad, fair or unfair.

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      2. P.S. I don’t see a moral question here — like you, I agree that no one is right or wrong. I just think that — to team management — this was more about power than an assessment of KC’s physical condition.

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