The Seattle Seahawks brought in defensive end Michael Bennett for the 2013 season to bolster their pass rush and help get them deep into the playoffs. That plan has worked to perfection as Seattle prepares to take on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII with the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL, thanks in part to the efforts of Bennett. But after the Super Bowl, Bennett will become an unrestricted free agent since he signed a one-year deal for $4.8 million before the season. Could a big performance in the Super Bowl propel Bennett to a huge pay-day in free agency in 2014?
Bennett has already earned a big deal with his play over the last two seasons. During the 2012 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he finished the year with 9.0 sacks from his defensive end position before coming to Seattle via free agency. In Seattle this season, he’s been a key piece of the Seahawks’ pass rush, racking up 8.5 more sacks and looking like one of the top five 4-3 defensive ends in football this season. His consistent production off the edge should make him a hot commodity when the free agency period opens this offseason.
The 28-year-old Bennett has deflected questions largely about his pending free agency, focusing instead on the game ahead of him on Sunday. He has loved his time in Seattle, however, and repeatedly said that he would be open to staying in the Pacific Northwest, adding “I love everything about the players, the coaches and the fans.” Bennett will be looking for a long-term deal, without a doubt, and he has earned it with his play in the pass rush. But the question will be if Seattle will be able to get into a bidding war for his services.
Seattle faces a lot of tough choices in the next three years about the core of their roster as they come due for new contracts. Bennett will have a huge bargaining advantage with his level of play and the demand for pass rushers across the NFL and could end up being a bit too expensive for the Hawks to hold onto. One team to keep an eye on this offseason is the Chicago Bears who are looking to bolster their pass rush by any means necessary and have Bennett’s brother, tight end Martellus Bennett, actively recruiting the defensive end for them.
Whenever a team makes it to the Super Bowl, players on the roster tend to cash in with big pay days in free agency. With Michael Bennett set to hit the open market this offseason, is he poised to sign the next big deal?