Late yesterday, it was reported that the Seattle Seahawks are trying to trade defensive end Michael Bennett. The news seems sudden, but a separation has virtually been in the works for quite some time. If the Seahawks can help it, it’d behoove them to hold onto Bennett.
Towards the end of the last football season, Michael Bennett had alluded to his departure by stating that he “probably won’t be back” for the Seahawks in 2018. To be honest, fans can’t blame the Seahawks. Age is the cruel beast of the NFL, and Bennett is on the wrong side of 30 years old playing one of the most grueling positions on the field.
It’s hard to assess where potential landing spots would be for Michael Bennett. Teams like the Indianapolis Colts or the Cleveland Browns come to mind as possibilities. These are teams that are immediately trying to right their own ships, and the Colts in particular are notorious for having no defense. Other potential landing spots include the Arizona Cardinals or Bennett’s former stomping ground in Tampa Bay.
It’s also tough to gauge Bennett’s value as well. It’d be nice if he could net the Seahawks a 3rd round pick, but that kind of thinking is poppycock. At most, I think a desperate team would be willing to part with a 5th round pick this year. Some teams also might be turned off by Bennett’s willingness to speak out about certain social issues. It’s ridiculous but such is the nature of today’s NFL.
From the Seahawks’ perspective, I think they’re giving Bennett due diligence in finding a place where he can comfortably play for the remainder of his career. However, here’s not much incentive for the Seahawks to find him a new home right away. The Seahawks’ biggest problem is with cap space, and not necessarily finding talent or a draft pick in return.
As far as cap is concerned, releasing or trading Bennett could only free up a little over $2 million in cap space. If the Hawks wait until releasing Bennett until after June 1st, they can free up $5.5 million in cap space. What could that kind of space truly buy?
Bennett’s contract runs through 2020 at an arguable bargain per the production he’s been giving the Seahawks. While Bennett is averaging is averaging $10 million on his current contract (not considering bonuses and non-guaranteed money), he’s not far behind the likes of Olivier Vernon and Ezekiel Ansah as far as sacks are concerned. The latter are averaging $17 million per year.
If the Seahawks were to part ways with Bennett, it’ll be a mistake especially in the short term. Coach Pete Carroll told reporters recently that he hopes to make another run to the playoffs this year, and his team won’t be able to do that with a subpar, alternative to Bennett. The Seahawks also have to answer questions in the secondary, as far more expensive questions need to be addressed in Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. Plus, it’s far more important to have stability with linemen than any other position. If the Seahawks can’t immediately address a competent replacement for Bennett, then why trade?