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Why would Michael Bennett seek a trade from the Seahawks?

Bennett may be underpaid for how productive he has been, but that doesn't mean the Seahawks are likely to trade him.

Defensive end Michael Bennett was reported Tuesday to be seeking a trade to the Atlanta Falcons by Clarence Hill of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. The news came as a surprise because Bennett just finished the first year of a four-year, $28.5 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks. Promptly after Hill's report, Danny O'Neil of ESPN 710 Seattle said that Bennett has yet to approach the team about a trade.

Bennett is a well-paid player for his position, and has never expressed any discontent about playing in Seattle. He has been to two Super Bowls in his two years with the team (he initially signed a one-year contract after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers let him go in free agency) and racked up 15.5 sacks in that time.

If Bennett has kept up with free agency, however, he is well aware of how much the best defensive linemen in the league are getting paid. Ndamukong Suh just signed a six-year deal with the Miami Dolphins worth more than $114 million, and J.J. Watt signed a $100 million deal with the Houston Texans before that.

Lots of players want to get paid more money, yet understand the reality of the league well enough to know that's not always feasible. Would the Seahawks actually cave? Let's evaluate.

Why trading Bennett makes sense

There are a lot of reason why Bennett might want to be traded.

1) Bennett may have a problem with his new teammate Jimmy Graham. In January 2014, after the Seahawks beat the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs, Bennett had harsh words for the former Saints tight end, saying, "Nobody likes Jimmy Graham. He's overrated. I don't like him as a person or a player." Could Bennett be trying to get away?

2) Bennett likes Dan Quinn. The former Seahawks defensive coordinator, the man who was the architect of two of the finest defenses in the NFL the last two seasons, is now the head coach of the Falcons.

3) Bennett isn't getting paid enough. While his sack numbers are relatively pedestrian, Bennett had a much bigger impact on the field than the average box scores indicate:

Justin Houston is set to make a lot of money this offseason as well. It's understandable why Bennett might be wondering if his paycheck accurately reflects his value.

Why trading Bennett doesn't make sense

Notice how none of the reasons above mention what the Seahawks might get out of the trade? Bennett still has three more seasons left on his contract while carrying a $12 million cap hit. He'd be an expensive trade when Seattle can hold on to him for relatively cheap. Bennett is also old enough, 29, that his on-field returns may soon begin diminishing.

Bennett doesn't have much leverage in the situation beyond making a stink. He has done a good job, reportedly catching the Seahawks off guard ...

... but that doesn't mean you should expect these rumblings to amount to anything.

Likelihood the Seahawks trade Bennett: 1/10

This feels like a low-percentage bluff, if it's anything at all. If Bennett has another productive season, he may have a much better case a year from now when his cap hit has dropped.


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