Michael Bennett: 'This isn't Costco'
"There is no such thing as discount," Bennett told NFL Network on Tuesday night. "This isn't Costco. This isn't Walmart. This is real life."
Bennett was Seattle's best defensive lineman in 2013 and helped lead the team to a Super Bowl victory. He signed a one-year contract worth $4.8 million last spring. He played his first four seasons with Tampa Bay after the Seahawks released him as an undrafted rookie in 2009.
But Bennett was everything and more the Seahawks hoped he'd be when they brought him back for last season. He had 8.5 sacks in the regular season along with one forced fumble and a fumble recovery he returned 22 yards for a touchdown.
Bennett said he can't give the Seahawks a discount because he gave them all he had on every play.
"There is no discount really because you go out there and you don't give a discount on effort," he said. "You go out there and you give the best effort every day and you fight for your teammates, and you want to be compensated for the way that you perform and the kind of teammate you are."
Bennett's comments are in contrast to those of receiver Golden Tate, the team's other high-profile free agent, who has said he'd be willing to take less money to stay with Seattle.
Bennett's versatility and quickness were major assets for Seattle. He played end and tackle in 2013 and had six tackles, a forced fumble, half a sack and a fumble recovery in the playoff game against New Orleans. He kept it up in the NFC Championship Game, posting a sack and returning a fumble 17 yards to the San Francisco 6-yard line.
"It's definitely a business," Bennett said of the NFL. "People hate to say it's that, but it is what it is. I would love to play for the Seahawks, but they're going to have to want me back and the numbers are going to have to be right."
The Seahawks have the option of placing a franchise tag on Bennett, but that would increase his salary to $12.6 million in 2014, so it seems unlikely the team would do that.
Bennett has been linked to a possible move to the Chicago Bears for two reasons -- the Bears need defensive line help, and Bennett's brother, Martellus Bennett, is the team's starting tight end. But Michael Bennett previously said his brother would not enter into his decision on where he plays next season.