By Nick Shook
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The 32-year-old defensive end expressed his desire to continue playing after Seattle’s Week 17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but spoke as if there was a better chance of him doing so elsewhere in 2018.
“Whatever happens, I’ve loved being a Seahawk,” Bennett said, via the Seattle Times. “I’ve had a great career with the Seahawks. You just keep growing and keep playing the best you can.”
Bennett signed a three-year, $31.5 million extension with the Seahawks just over a year ago after out-playing his previous deal, and played up to par at least statistically, recording 8.5 sacks and 40 tackles in 2017.
At the time, the signing signified a solidification of Seattle’s successful core. A year later, that core seems to be much less certain after a tumultuous season that saw in-fighting, teammate Earl Thomas lobbying for his next moveand Bennett’s own ejection at the end of a frustrating road loss.
Even with Seattle falling short of the postseason and Bennett not getting any younger, he’s not publicly longing to skip town or retire.
“Yeah I’m 100 percent committed,” he said. “I think I’m in my prime. I want to play as long as I can. There are so many great players on this team and it’s a great organization.”
The Seahawks could also see a 32-year-old defensive end as not being worth a cap number that drops from 2017 to 2018, but still resides at $7.237 million per year. The money saved by potentially cutting Bennett would be a little over $2 million after accounting for his dead cap number of $5.2 million. If Bennett were a post-June 1 cut, his dead money drops to under $2 million, saving the Seahawks $5.5 million, according to OverTheCap.com.
Seattle, a team that isn’t getting any younger defensively, is projected to have $19.41 million in cap space in 2018 (per OverTheCap) after squeezing the team’s payroll just under the cap by less than $2 million in 2017. Schneider has becoming known for performing near miracles with cap space in the past, but as they say, this is a business. Cutting Bennett wouldn’t yield massive cap relief, but would fall under that “business” category.
Has Bennett been told he’s going to be a cap casualty?
“No,” Bennett said. “Just saying you just never know with losses and transitions in sports. It’s just one of those things.”
Considering Thomas’ comments — “When Seattle kicks me to the curb, please, the Cowboys, come get me” — and Bennett’s hinting at his uncertain future, it appears as though the team’s veterans are sensing change is around the corner. Whether Seattle’s future plans include Bennett remains to be seen.