Free agency opens March 11, and teams technically cannot sign anyone until then. However, there are times when franchises or players will announce that agreements are already in place. The Seattle Seahawks would probably prefer to lock up Bennett now, rather than allow him to out into the open market.
It appears that the Seahawks will not be given that opportunity.
This is obviously not a surprising development, and the Seattle may deal with a similar scenario when it comes to Golden Tate. For Bennett and for the Seahawks, this is business. Given the financial structure of the NFL, this is Bennett’s best opportunity to make some cash before he retires.
At 28, Bennett is quickly heading into the latter part of his career. He is still young enough to solicit a big contract, but chances are that he will not actually play all the years of his next deal. Therefore, Bennett is going to focus on the signing bonus and the guaranteed money.
You could see Bennett signing a six-year deal and then getting cut in 3-4 years when his base salary represents too much of a cap hit. That is the way of the NFL, and why players in Major League Baseball have a much better life when it comes to guaranteed contracts.
There is the very realistic possibility that another team will be willing to overpay just a bit for Bennett. He is the type of player that would represent a “splash” for some franchises, and signing him would also get him away from the dominant defense of the Seahawks.
Bennett has stated that the Seahawks will not be getting a hometown discount. Do you blame him? Eventually he may return to the Emerald City. However, starting March 11 he is going to field a few phone calls first.