One of the NFL’s best free-agent defensive ends won’t be taking a hometown discount.
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett says he will sign with the team that wants him most when he hits free agency March 11. Bennett was a star for the Seahawks after signing a one-year, $5 million deal during the 2013 offseason.
“There is no such thing as discount. This is not Costco. This is not Walmart — this is real life,” Bennett said on NFL Network. “There is no discount really, because you go out there, and you don’t give a discount on effort. You go out there, and you give the best effort every day, and you fight for your teammates, and you want to be compensated for the way that you perform and the kind of teammate you are.”
Bennett had 8.5 sacks for the Seahawks in 2013. He added 39 hurries and 17 quarterback hits, according to Pro Football Focus. He played defensive end in the Seahawks’ base defense and defensive tackle on third down. He ranked third among 4-3 defensive linemen in Pro Football Focus’ “pass-rush productivity” rating.
“You have to have a great balance, because 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,” Bennett said of his impending free agency. “But also you have a family, so you want to be in the best situation for them. 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. It’s definitely a business, and people hate to say that it’s that, but it is what it is. I would love to play for the Seahawks, but they would have to want me back, and the numbers have to be right.”
The New England Patriots could use a player of Bennett’s caliber. The Patriots need a third defensive end to rotate with starters Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones. Bennett’s outspoken nature might not sit well with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, however.