By John Boyle
Michael Bennett’s four-year contract extension with the Seahawks, reportedly worth $28.5 million, is now official, and the defensive end discussed his decision to stay in Seattle with the media not long after signing the deal.
“It’s really exciting to be back and be on a Super Bowl winning team,” he said. “Playing with these guys, knowing that we have a chance to win another Super Bowl is a great feeling.”
Asked if he had any doubts about returning to Seattle, Bennett said, “I don’t know if there was any doubt, but there was a lot of speculation, a lot of teams tried to get me to come there, but ultimately I wanted to come back here and get a chance to play with these guys and win some more games.”
Picking Seattle meant saying no to several suitors, including the Chicago Bears and brother Martellus Bennett, who had openly been recruiting his brother to come to Chicago.
“He understands my decision,” Bennett said. “It’s all on me, not really him, so I felt like I made the right decision.”
Bennett confirmed what has been reported — that he left more money on the table to stay in Seattle: “There was more, but I wanted to be here, man. There’s a lot of young guys here, a lot of winning ways, and I just love the organization and the things they’re about. From the equipment staff to the medical staff, it just goes on and on. Everybody here, they’re good people and I really enjoy that.”
As you might expect, Bennett said the guaranteed portion of the contract, reportedly worth $16 million, was key: “You want to get a good guarantee. You could have a five-year, $90 million deal but only have $2 million guaranteed. So it doesn’t really matter at the end, you want to worry about the guaranteed part.”
On the free agent process, he said, “I wouldn’t say it was fun. It was kind of like stepping on nails. You have to sit there and kind of plan your life in one day. That’s a big job when you’ve got a lot of people depending on you, you’ve got a lot of people tugging on you… It’s a big decision you have to make in 48 hours.”
In addition to his desire to win another Super Bowl, and of course the guaranteed money, Bennett said Seahawks fans were also a factor in his decision to stay: “I love the fans here, and that’s one of the main reasons I came back here. To get this deal here, it means a lot to me.
“The fans are one of the biggest reasons I came back. The 12th Man’s the biggest thing. They love the players and I really appreciate how much they put into being one of the biggest reasons we win games.”
On his role going forward, which figures to increase because of Red Bryant’s departure, Bennett said, “It doesn’t matter really. I don’t know what I’m going to be doing. I know we’re going to win games, and that’s the main thing that really matters.”
Earlier in the offseason, Bennett had said there would be no hometown discount, noting “This is not Costco, this is not Walmart — this is real life.” But he was still willing to take a little less to stay where he knew he’d be comfortable and have a chance to win: “At the end of the day, it was about being comfortable, being in a good situation. Sometimes going to a new organization doesn’t work out the way it worked out for me coming here being with these guys… I know what this place is, I’m familiar with the staff and the players.”
Bennett also credited the persistence of cornerback Richard Sherman for helping him make the decision, saying, “Richard Sherman was one of the main reasons I came back. He was on me the whole time and told me he really wanted me to come back and how much I meant to the defense. That’s one of the reasons I came back.”