Contract disputes are a problem that every NFL franchise has to face, and it can lead to ugly discourse between the disgruntled player and team. Defensive end Michael Bennett, who signed a four-year, $28.5 million contract with the Seahawks in the 2014 offseason, hasn't been thrilled with his deal for more than a year.
"I just want to be fairly compensated with the top guys in the league," Bennett told The Huffington Post. "I'm definitely one of the top five defensive ends."
He does have a point.
The 30-year-old veteran's 34.5 sacks over the past four seasons (three of which were in Seattle) has firmly placed him among the NFL's elite. Over that span, Bennett's 292 quarterback pressures ranked second in the league per Pro Football Focus, only behind three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.
"It is never-ending," Bennett said. "Especially when people are getting new contracts every day. You sit there and you're like, 'Damn, really?' I'm just to the point where it's kind of like, if you don't think I'm valuable, then just get rid of me."
The Seahawks have a very solid collection of talent locked up through the 2018 season, including Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Bobby Wagner and recently extended Doug Baldwin. The team doesn't have enough salary-cap room to sign everyone though, as Bruce Irvin and Russell Okung left Seattle this free-agency period to sign lucrative deals with the Raiders and Broncos, respectively.
Bennett will be 32 when his current contract expires, and he knows that there's a big chance his value now is much higher than two years down the road. Currently, per The Huffington Post, he's only the 27th-highest paid defensive lineman in the league. If he can't get a bigger contract now, will he ever get an opportunity to receive a bigger (and more fair) pay day?