Reading between the lines: John Schneider on Michael Bennett
Like most general managers, the Seahawks’ John Schneider has tended to keep things close to the vest when publicly discussing ongoing contract negotiations with players. That was the case Tuesday when he was asked during an interview with John Clayton about the situation with defensive lineman Michael Bennett, whose agent is reportedly meeting with the team this week.
Schneider was asked what he can say about the possibility of the Seahawks doing something with Bennett’s contract, which has two years remaining.
“Not much. What I can tell you is obviously we think he’s a hell of a football player,” Schneider said before recalling how Seattle signed Bennett as a free agent in 2013 and re-signed him the following year when Chicago had made him an offer.
“Like I said earlier, there’s 90 guys on this team. Everybody has their own story and situation, whether it’s personal or professional, and we’re always going to try to do what’s best for everybody. We have to look at what’s best for the team first.”
The last comment from Schneider about what’s best for the team could leave the impression that an extension for Bennett is unlikely, but that’s not necessarily the case. If the door was closed in Schneider’s eyes – at least until next offseason, at which point Bennett’s deal will only have a year left – then there would be no reason for meeting this week with Bennett’s agent, Doug Hendrickson.
Schneider doesn’t stand to gain much by being transparent here. Even acknowledging that Seattle is open to giving Bennett a new deal could create unrealistic expectations and paint him into a corner. That would explain why Schneider’s answer to the question entailed a compliment to Bennett, some general statements and nothing about his current contract situation specifically.
The $7.125 million annual average of Bennett’s contract ranks 29th among NFL defensive linemen, according to the website Spotrac.com. Bennett has expressed his frustration over his deal since last offseason and most recently in an interview with the Huffington Post, calling it “never-ending” and adding: “Especially when people are getting new contracts every day. You sit there and you’re like, ‘Damn, really?’ I’m just to the point where it’s kind of like, if you don’t think I’m valuable, then just get rid of me.”
The same story quoted coach Pete Carroll as saying the team is going to make “an effort so he remains a Seahawk.”