It’s No Secret Michael Bennett Wants a New Contract With the Seattle Seahawks
Michael Bennett has made it no secret over the last two offseasons that he would like his current contract to be renegotiated. However, the Seahawks front office has held their position that they will not renegotiate with players who have more than one year left on their contract.
This was their position during the entirety of Kam Chancellor’s holdout last year. Despite Michael Bennett’s multiple public statements that he would like a new contract, this is the position they have held with his camp as well.
Bennett, while not liking this position, seems to respect the team’s stance, also stating that he would not hold out and that he loves the environment in Seattle. This is not surprising, given the circus shows Michael Bennett endured during his time playing for Tampa Bay where he played under both Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano. In addition, Bennett has stated that his wife would not let him hold out — even if he wanted to — because he might be underpaid relative to his production, but he is still getting paid quite a bit of money to do what he does.
However, in recent weeks, all three of the division opponents of the Seahawks have signed a contract extension with a key player who was already under contract for at least the next two seasons.
Los Angeles Rams
Over the weekend, the Rams announced that they had signed a four-year, $42 million extension with receiver Tavon Austin. Austin, who was a first round pick of the Rams in 2013, was still on his initial rookie contract which would have expired after this season.
However, as a first round pick, Austin was subject to the fifth year option and back in May the Rams announced they had picked up that option. Thus, Austin was already under contract with the team through 2017.
The announcement by the Rams came just weeks after the 49ers and Cardinals made similar announcements during the first week of August. Just a couple of weeks into training camp, the Cardinals announced that they had signed both Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald to one-year extensions. This was not unexpected in the case of Fitzgerald — who would have been a free agent after this season — but Palmer was still under contract for both this season and next.
The extension Palmer signed was for a single year at $24.5 million, which would keep him with the team through the 2018 season. The biggest issue at hand here is not the size of the extension given to Palmer, as it is in line with the contracts for other quality quarterbacks, but Palmer’s health.
When he has been healthy, Palmer has put up some fantastic numbers since arriving in Arizona, but his health has been an issue. In each of the last two seasons Palmer has suffered an injury which has played a major role in contributing to the Cardinals late-season woes.
In 2014 he tore his ACL and last year a late season finger injury contributed to offensive inefficiencies for the team down the home stretch and in the playoffs. Palmer is obviously a weapon, but the Cardinals need him to be healthy and he will turn 37 late this coming season.
That means this extension will keep Palmer with the Cards until he is 39.
San Francisco 49ers
Perhaps the most confusing of the extensions that fall into this category that have been announced so far is that of NaVorro Bowman for the 49ers. Prior to signing a four-year, $44 million extension at the beginning of August, Bowman was already under contract for the next three years. That means the 49ers would not have had to worry about losing him until after the 2018 season at the earliest.
Bowman turned 28 during the offseason and this contract will keep him with the 49ers until just months before his 35th birthday. Bowman is a good player and was a solid member of the 49ers great defenses under Jim Harbaugh. However, 34 is old in the NFL, particularly for linebackers.
Thus, while all of these players are key members to their teams and the teams will be happy to keep them around, is there something more going on here?
Is this a conspiracy among NFC West general managers to extend players with more than a year left on their contract in an attempt to make Michael Bennett dissatisfied with his current contract situation? Are these GMs colluding in an attempt to sow seeds of discontent within the Seahawks’ locker room? In particular, to upset an outspoken and vocal member of the team who happens to be a leader in the locker room?
It’s doubtful, but it is an interesting question to ponder given the ages through which Bowman and Palmer are now signed.