Should Seahawks Entertain Reunion with Michael Bennett?
During each of the past two offseasons, Michael Bennett has been traded as soon as the new league year officially opened. This year, the veteran defensive end will likely be forced to change teams once again as an unrestricted free agent.
Since the Seahawks traded Bennett along with a 2018 seventh-round pick to the Eagles in exchange for a 2018 fifth-rounder and receiver Marcus Johnson two years ago, the 11-year pro has bounced around with three teams.
Following Bennett’s impressive 2018 campaign with the Eagles where he recorded 34 total tackles, 25 solo tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 9.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, and one pass deflection, he was shipped to the Patriots along with a 2020 seventh-round selection during the 2019 offseason.
After a brief six-game appearance with the Patriots, the 34-year old defensive end was then traded to the Cowboys in exchange for a conditional 2021 seventh-round pick on October 25. During nine games in Dallas, Bennett generated 27 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 4.0 sacks.
While the Cowboys could look to re-sign the three-time Pro Bowler, they’ve got bigger fish to fry trying to extend quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper and Bennett will hit the market for the first time since 2012.
Considering Seattle’s struggles rushing the passer in 2019, speculation about a potential reunion with Bennett has been a hot topic this winter already. Before being dealt two years ago, he spent five seasons with the Seahawks, earning three Pro Bowl nods and playing in two Super Bowls.
But bringing the veteran back into the fold may not necessarily be a good idea for either party, especially Seattle.
First, Bennett will be entering age-35 season in 2020 and has developed a reputation for a strong personality that reportedly created some division in the locker room during his first stint with the franchise. It's not out of the question the brash Bennett could create some locker room friction again, which is the last thing the Seahawks need right now.
In addition, the veteran defender continues to rack up unnecessary penalties in bunches and tied for the second-most penalties (8) among all NFL defensive ends. He also led all defensive players in offside penalties (5) in 2019 as well, according to nflpenalties.com.
Despite his penalty concerns, Bennett's 4.0 sacks in nine games with Dallas equaled Green's team-leading total for Seattle's entire season. From a production standpoint, even at his advancing age, re-signing the versatile 6-foot-4 edge defender would almost certainly have a positive impact on the Seahawks' ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
If Bennett were to return, he would likely be signed to a one-year deal featuring a low base salary along with incentives, making him a more affordable option than top-tier free agents such as Yannick Ngakoue and Matt Judon. The team has also been willing to bring back veterans who previously left Seattle on poor terms, including Marshawn Lynch.
Still, the Seahawks would likely be better off without Bennett on their roster during next season. Given his age, attitude concerns, and penalty tendencies, he just doesn't seem like a great fit in Seattle anymore.
While general manager John Schneider will be looking to add more talent to Seattle's defensive line, he's unlikely to view a reunion with the long-time Seahawk this offseason as part of the solution.