If you had a chance to bring back Michael Bennett to add to the trio of Jadeveon Clowney, Ziggy Ansah and Jarran Reed, would you do it?
The more significant question: Would the Seahawks do it?
Bennett was dumped in the Great Defensive/Attitude Reset of 2018, along with Richard Sherman (and injured Kam Chancellor, Cliff Avril and, later, Earl Thomas). Bennett admittedly had tuned out Pete Carroll, who finally got tired of it after his veteran defense fell apart in 2017.
But Carroll is a forgiving sort. And he has brought back, if even briefly, more than one player who left (Luke Willson, Cassius Marsh, DeShawn Shead, Justin Coleman, et al.).
Bennett now seems possibly on the outs in New England, which just traded for him this year but is playing him less and less. How about a third Seattle stint for Bennett, who started his career in Seattle in 2009 and was brought back by John Schneider and Carroll in 2013? Maybe this “benching” experience has humbled Bennett enough that he is ready to be a team player again.
Imagine the pass-rush possibilities with Reed inside, Ansah outside and Bennett and Clowney moving around. Bennett can still play — he was New England’s top rusher early in the season — but Bill Belichick is rotating so many defenders that Bennett’s field time has dropped from 55 percent in Week 1 to just 22 percent (11 plays) Thursday against the Giants.
“We rotate a lot,” Belichick said earlier this week. “I mean, we’ve played 20 players on defense the last four or five weeks. So, naturally, when you start splitting it up between 20 guys, that’s what you’re going to get. Show me how many teams play 20 players on defense.”
The Patriots tried to acquire Bennett from Seattle in both 2017 and 2018 (they offered a third-round pick too late in 2018; Schneider already had agreed to send Bennett to Philadelphia), so it’s a little odd they aren’t using him more.
Will the Patriots be open to trading him by the Oct. 29 deadline? Bennett told Boston Sports Journal: “I don’t know. We’re about to find out. I really don’t know what’s going on. I wish I knew. I’d tell you.”
If the Patriots do dangle him, the Hawks could perhaps offer Branden Jackson straight up (a cheaper rotational lineman for the Pats). But no more than a sixth-rounder (Seattle got a fifth and a throwaway player from Philly in 2018, sending a seventh with Bennett).
Bennett is making about $281,000 per active game, so Seattle would owe $2.81 million for 10 games (if the deal were done next week) or $2.53 million for nine games. The Hawks have about $10 million in cap space (though they might need much of that to pay off incentives as the season wears on). The 33-year-old also is signed for 2020, at $8.25 million, but Seattle could easily let him go after this season.
The Hawks also could just wait to see whether the Patriots cut Bennett, though that seems unlikely.
Either way, it might be nice to see some return on the $8 million signing bonus Seattle gave him in December 2016 — an extension he never even started for Seattle because Carroll and Schneider were so eager to dump him after 2017.
With the deadline approaching, plenty of fans have chattered about Seattle pursuing star Jacksonville corner Jalen Ramsey (Seattle reportedly was turned off by the price), and A.J. Green’s name has been bandied about (though it makes little sense to try to acquire the overpaid, injury-prone receiver).
But, if available, Bennett would be affordable and useful.