Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider said Thursday that re-signing unrestricted free agent defensive lineman Michael Bennett is a priority.
Schneider doesn’t anticipate using the franchise tag on Bennett – or anyone, for that matter – so the Seahawks will have to fight the open market for Bennett’s services.
“He’s a top priority, sure,” Schneider said. “He had a great season. Proved to be versatile. Is a great guy, a fun guy to be around. Hopefully we can get something worked out.”
Last week on the NFL Network, Bennett was asked about giving the Seahawks a “hometown” discount of sorts because they first signed him, and then he blossomed with them this past season.
“There is no such thing as discount,” Bennett responded. “This is not Costco, this is not Walmart – this is real life. … There is no discount really because you go out there and you don’t give a discount on effort; you go out there and you give the best effort every day and you fight for your teammates, and you want to be compensated for the way that you perform and the kind of teammate you are.”
Bennett, 28, led the Seahawks with 8.5 sacks, and was a force in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl. He’s also a gregarious guy who fit well in the loose and young Seahawks locker room.
Like most teams, the Seahawks will have to tango with what’s expected to be a raised salary cap to have a shot at retaining crucial players. Looming are the contracts of Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, who are both entering the final years of their deals. They can become unrestricted free agents after the 2014 season.
“Every day we have different models set up,” Schneider said. “We’re going to try to do whatever we can (possibly do) to keep this core together. We have days ahead that are going to be hard because they are going to be tough decisions.”