Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) sacks Rams quarterback Jared Goff in the second half of a game on Dec. 15. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) sacks Rams quarterback Jared Goff in the second half of a game on Dec. 15. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Seahawks sign star DE Bennett to 3-year contract extension

RENTON — Michael Bennett wants to retire as a member of the Seattle Seahawks. On Friday the Seahawks made that a real possibility.

The Seahawks locked up their Pro Bowl defensive end long term, signing Bennett to a contract extension that lasts through the 2020 season.

“I want to retire a Seahawk,” Bennett said Friday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

“It’s pretty cool to have somewhere where you put a lot of hard work in and you’ve done a lot of great things for the organization,” Bennett added. “To actually get a chance to retire in that same place is always special.”

Terms of the extension were not announced. However, multiple reports pegged the deal at three years and $31.5 million, with $17.5 million guaranteed. The $10.5 million average per season would currently rank seventh in the NFL among defensive ends.

“It’s a good day,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “We have a chance to recognize Mike and do something for the future. The guy’s been a terrific player for us and he’s been a great team guy for us. Mike has been a guy who was hoping he’d have a chance to retire as a Seahawk and wants to be here and be part of this thing. He’s shown nothing but that, so it’s nice recognition for him.”

Bennett, 31, is currently in the third year of a four-year $28.5 million contract signed with the Seahawks in March of 2014. Since then the market for defensive ends has exploded, and Bennett made no secret about his desire to have his contract renegotiated. Bennett said last season he considered holding out right up to the start of training camp, and heading into this year’s training camp the main story was about whether Bennett would hold out.

Yet despite his dissatisfaction with his contract, Bennett has never allowed that to affect his play on the field. In four seasons with Seattle he has 162 tackles and 29.5 sacks, showing the ability to be effective both off the edge and in the interior. Last season Bennett led the team with 10 sacks and was named to his first Pro Bowl. He was picked for the Pro Bowl again this season, despite missing five games because of arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair ligament damage. Earlier this season Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians described Bennett the most disruptive defensive player in the NFL.

“It’s always difficult when you want to get more money,” Bennett said. “You know how it is and when you finally get it you feel happy, you feel like you deserved it and earned it, so it’s one of those things.”

The extension is no doubt part reward for not letting his contract situation affect his play.

“Mike expressed something quite a while back, so it’s come to this day where we finally have a chance to make a statement about it,” Carroll said. “He’s always done his thing, he’s always done football the way it’s supposed to be done, he’s always been a good team guy, he’s always fought for us just as well as anybody on this team.”

Bennett’s extension is a departure for the Seahawks. Seattle has traditionally refused to enter negotiations with players until there was only one season remaining on their contracts — the Seahawks refused to negotiate with strong safety Kam Chancellor when Chancellor held out last season with three years remaining on his deal. However, rumors persisted throughout this season about the team working on an extension with Bennett, and Friday’s signing is an indication of just how vital Seattle considers Bennett to its defense, even though Bennett will be 35 years old when the contract expires.

“He has really special talent, and as always you hear me talking about his uniqueness,” Carroll said. “Mike is a really unique football player. He’s not the biggest or the strongest of the fastest, he’s just a terrific football player.

“We’ve rewarded the guys that have been with is and have been our core players, our core leadership,” Carroll added. “This is just another expression of that.”

For more on the Seattle sports scene, check out Nick Patterson’s Seattle Sidelines blog at, or follow him on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

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