The Seahawks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011 and now, they could be in for an offseason of change. One player who could be on his way out, according to Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett? Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett.
Shortly after the Seahawks lost their season finale to the Cardinals, which dropped their final record to 9-7, Bennett told The News Tribune's Gregg Bell that he doesn't think he'll be back in Seattle in 2018.
"I probably won't be back next year," he said. "Just seems like it's a young man's game. I can see them going younger, with younger players. That's part of the game."
Bennett, 32, is under contract through 2020, but the Seahawks can get out of their deal without huge financial implications. According to Spotrac, here are Bennett's contract details through the remainder of his deal:
- 2018: $8,387,500 cap figure; $5,212,500 dead cap hit
- 2019: $8,737,500 cap figure; $3,475,000 dead cap hit
- 2020: $10,237,500 cap figure; $1,737,500 dead cap hit.
Based on those figures, it seems more likely that the Seahawks would cut him in 2019 or 2020. It's not like he's suddenly turned into a horrible player. He's still good, if not dominant, and he still adds value to the team. They could always try and trade him as well, of course.
Bennett has been with the Seahawks since 2013 and in that span, he's developed into one of the game's best defensive lineman. He's good against the run, he can rush the passer (39 sacks in the past five seasons), and he can line up at multiple spots. He's been one of the most important pieces on arguably the best defense of the past five seasons.
But as he mentioned, he's getting up there in age. And the Seahawks could decide to invest in younger options. Or maybe after how this year transpired -- they lost Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman, and Kam Chancellor to injuries, and Russell Wilson was forced to drag the team forward -- they'll want to transition away from a defensive-oriented team to a team that is built around Wilson.
The Seahawks are still a good team, evidenced by their 9-7 record in a season that was plagued by too many injuries, but they also might be at the end of their reign. Suddenly, the Rams are the NFC's West best team and the 49ers have a franchise-changing quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo. It's an entirely new world that the Seahawks are living in, and it's clear changes of some sort are needed. It's just not clear where Bennett fits into this new world or if he'll be one of those changes the team figures to make in the offseason.