Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett is skipping the team’s OTAs as he seeks a new contract.
Bennett discussed his desire for a new deal with The Seattle Times during a dinner event for his foundation on Friday night. The six-year NFL veteran would like to remain in Seattle, but is seeking a raise from his current contract. Signed in March 2014, it is a four-year deal worth up to $28.5 million with $16 million guaranteed. Bennett is entering the second of the four years.
That contract ranks 14th in average annual salary ($7.125 million) among 4-3 defensive ends, according to figures compiled by OvertheCap.com.
Bennett, 29, told the Times he would like to be paid within the top eight at the position.
“Not a lot of guys play inside and out,” he said. “Not a lot of guys do what I do. So I feel like I should be somewhere near there.”
Bennett led the Seahawks in sacks each of the past two seasons, with seven last season and 8.5 in 2013.
Bennett skipped last week’s OTAs and plans on doing the same this week. OTAs are optional, although the Seahawks have a mandatory minicamp coming in two weeks. Fines for skipping mini-camp can approach $70,000.
Bennett told the Times “it’s understandable” that previous contract discussions with the Seahawks have not taken place since before OTAs began last Tuesday.
“They are going to do their thing and I have to do what I have to do,” he said.
Earlier this month, Bennett said he never requested a trade from the Seahawks and was only seeking a performance-based raise.
- Mike Fiammetta