Seattle's Michael Bennett reaches 3-year contract extension
RENTON, Wash. (AP) Michael Bennett and the Seattle Seahawks reached agreement on a three-year contract extension on Friday that will keep the defensive end under contract through the 2020 season.
''It's good to be a part of an organization that recognizes a player's talent and being able to be compensated for what you do on the field is always a good thing,'' Bennett said following practice on Friday.
Bennett's agent Doug Hendrickson told The Associated Press that discussions about the extension started six months ago and finally reached their conclusion just before the end of the regular season. Bennett's deal begins with the 2018 season and is worth up to $31.5 million, including $16 million in the first year of the new contract.
''It's extremely rewarding. It's been probably a six-month journey in regards to working with Seattle and Pete Carroll and John Schneider and the whole crew over there,'' Hendrickson said. ''It's been a long, arduous journey to get to where we're at now with a few bumps in the road - i.e. a surgery and a few other things. To culminate this now in a deal that will pay Michael in terms of what his value should be means a lot.''
Bennett, 31, has been a standout since arriving in Seattle in 2013. He originally played on a one-year deal and helped the Seahawks win their only Super Bowl title. Bennett signed a four-year contract after that season worth $28.5 million, but one that paid him under market value for his performance.
Bennett first declared his unhappiness with his contract situation before the start of the 2015 season and considered briefly holding out from training camp that year. Bennett showed up and changed representation to Hendrickson in the hopes of landing a long-term deal.
''It's really clear how we've rewarded the guys that have been with us and have been our core players, our core leadership and this is just another expression of that,'' Carroll said.
Bennett will be 33 years old during the first year of the new contract and Hendrickson expects it to be his final contract.
''It just shows the value to Michael and what he's done and how much he means to that team. We knew it was going to be tough and all that, but to get it done is very exciting,'' Hendrickson said.
''To have somewhere you've put a lot of hard work in and you've done a lot of great things for the organization and to actually get a chance to retire in that same place in pretty special,'' Bennett said.
In his four seasons with the Seahawks, Bennett has 29 + sacks and seven forced fumbles. He's been slowed this year by midseason knee surgery that cost him five games, but the sacks don't tell the entire story of what Bennett provides. He's among the most versatile defensive linemen in the NFL with his success as a pass rusher from the outside, but also his ability to create pressure lining up on the interior.
Bennett's also improved as a run defender and become a permanent fixture after beginning his career with Seattle as a reserve used mostly in passing situations.
''Both Michael and I give Seattle a lot of credit for the work they put in on this,'' Hendrickson said. ''This was a six-month grind of probably daily conversations. It was a long process.''
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AP freelance writer Curtis Crabtree contributed to this report.