Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

07 Mar 2018

Seahawks Trading Bennett to Eagles

As first reported by ESPN's Josina Anderson, the Seattle Seahawks are trading veteran defensive lineman Michael Bennett to the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles will receive Bennett and a seventh-round pick in the deal, in exchange for a fifth-round pick and little-used wide receiver Marcus Johnson (only five catches in two NFL seasons, spent mostly on the practice squad).

Bennett had 8.5 sacks in 2017, more than anyone on the Eagles except Brandon Graham's 9.5. He added 39.5 hurries -- Chris Long led the Eagles with 35.0. However, Bennett turns 33 in November, has dealt with nagging injuries in the past, and is guaranteed $13.5 million in 2019 and 2020 a projected combined cap hit of nearly $20 million in 2019 and 2020.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 07 Mar 2018

41 comments, Last at 12 Mar 2018, 11:11am by Pat


by Pat :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:03pm

Weirdest trade ever from Philly's point of view. I mean, I get that this means they're almost certainly cutting Curry, but... replacing Curry with someone who's going to cost between $4-5M on the cap this year does not seem like a net win. I mean... that's all the savings you get from Curry anyway. So... you cut Curry, and replace him with... the exact same thing? Wha?

by Southern Philly :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:13pm

Michael Bennett is, or since he's 32 was, significantly better than Vinny Curry.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:15pm

I'd forgotten how old he is. Never know when a 32 year old guy is going to lose his burst.

by Southern Philly :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:21pm

You don't, and his age is reason for pause, but considering that when it came to rushing the passer Curry was the 4th best DE on the Eagles and they gave up very little for Bennett, it's a good gamble.

by Pat :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:41pm

I'd rather have them gamble on a draft pick DE than Bennett. Especially because they're cap constrained for the next few years. If Bennett doesn't work out this year, they've netted absolutely nothing compared to Curry. If Bennett works out this year, their defensive line is better, but their future cap situation is worse.

If Bennett had a roster bonus payable at the start of the season, I'd say it's a good idea. Then you draft a low round DE, and see what makes sense in training camp. But as it is they've got to decide what to do about a 33-year old DE from another team, immediately. Bad idea.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:51pm

The Vikings have done remarkably well with late round edge rushers. It really is a position where athletic guys who didn't shine to a huge degree in college can be dramatically improved by a more professional atmosphere.

by Wade8813 :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 11:20pm

Will Allen - while you may be right, I have to wonder if they just have great coaches at pass rushing (similar to how Pete Carroll seems to be a savant at coaching DBs, and the Eagles may be a lot better than most teams at OL).

As a Seahawks fan who supports Bennett's off-field activites, I think this was likely a win-win.

by Southern Philly :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 7:19pm

It's hard to find a good DE after the 1st round, so to get a worthwhile prospect you'd have to take one with either their 1st or with a pick.

To get one for the difference between a 5th and a 7th is great value. If Bennett's play falls off a cliff, and it's a pretty low bar to clear to be better than Curry was as a pass rusher in 2017, they can cut him with no dead money. This is a good move.

by Pat :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 12:37pm

"It's hard to find a good DE after the 1st round, so to get a worthwhile prospect you'd have to take one with either their 1st or with a pick."

No, it's hard to find a good starting-quality DE after the first round. As in, a guy that can be disruptive from day 1, and play a bunch of snaps.

But... they don't need someone like that. They just *picked* Barnett, he had a good, not great, rookie year. Perfect. He should be able to step up, and honestly, if they don't think he can... then they should draft another DE with their first this year, because long term, you need one opposite Graham. But I don't think that's true. Barnett's gotten rave reviews from teammates and he looks like he'll grow into a solid DE. Great.

And *situational* pass rushers are often found after the 1st round, around the 3rd/4th. And a lot of times after a few years they end up being able to take on full roles. See also Justin Tuck, Trent Cole.

Let's be clear: 4 DEs took the majority of the snaps last year. Graham got about ~70%, Curry got about 60%, and Barnett and Long got about 45% each. Barnett is now a second year player. He should be able to step up to Curry's role, and if he *can't*, you've got to worry about him being a long-term top talent, so drafting another DE high makes sense anyway. You don't want to increase Long's role, because he's older and was effective at that count. So you really just need someone to come in at a ~40% level or so. Which would be perfect for a draft pick.

I just don't see the point of bringing in a $6M vet to fill what should be a situational role. I *especially* don't see the point of doing it this early, when you're in a situation where you can look for a DE that might get passed up on because of durability, strength, or stamina concerns, and end up with a situation like the Giants had in 2007, where they ended up with 4 starting-quality DEs. And when you add in that the Eagles really, really could've used that extra $5M-ish that would've been the difference between Bennett and a draft pick? Yeah.. really makes no sense.

by Southern Philly :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 1:21pm

They don't want situational guys. They want four starting caliber DEs to dominate the LOS and not have to worry about wearing down over the course of a game or the season.

You do it now because it's the only chance to get a starting caliber player for cheap. If they had waited, he'd be gone, the Patriots made a better offer after the Seahawks had already agreed to the trade. So then they'd have to pay more for one in free agency. OTC says he has the 40th highest cap hit for a 4-3 DE/3-4 LB.

You might get Trent Cole or Justin Tuck in the draft, but you're more likely to get their contemporaries Ricky Sapp and Guy Whimper.

by Pat :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 4:22pm

"They don't want situational guys. They want four starting caliber DEs to dominate the LOS and not have to worry about wearing down over the course of a game or the season."

Yeah, I'm sure that sounds great at a press conference. In reality, they went out and signed Long last year to be a rotational DE and drafted a rookie DE who ended up being a rotational DE as well. Two main starters, two rotational DEs with fairly heavy loads when compared to league average. That makes sense to me.

Going out and getting Bennett seems like a reach. You're basically trading Curry for Bennett in the lineup, straight up. Money's basically identical. Yeah, Bennett has no dead money next year, but you weren't going to keep Curry at his current level anyway, so comparing Bennett next year to Curry is just silly.

And the thing is, Bennett didn't have a great year last year. Yeah, 8.5 sacks, whee. But 6.5 of those sacks came in the first half of the season. 2 came in the last 8 games. PFF actually graded him *lower* for the year than Curry. Curry isn't a bum, and I wouldn't be surprised if Bennett basically ends up having a very similar year to Curry.

That, I think, is the big difference between how you're seeing it and how I'm seeing it. I think the Eagles are going to end up effectively spending $11.5M (Curry's $6M dead plus $5.5M for Bennett) for Curry's production, or a bit more. Which doesn't make sense, considering they had been talking about Curry restructuring, which means they don't think his output is worth $11.5M.

I'm guessing that you think that Bennett will be significantly better than Curry was last year. Maybe. I just look at the way his season ended and doubt it.

Now, that being said, maybe Bennett's ability to play inside is worth it, with Barnett getting better. We'll see.

by Southern Philly :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 4:41pm

"You're basically trading Curry for Bennett in the lineup, straight up."

Which is a big upgrade, and for next to nothing.

"And the thing is, Bennett didn't have a great year last year."

Bennett was 16th in pass pressures according to FO's charting. PFF's grades are worthless.

by Pat :: Fri, 03/09/2018 - 12:10pm

"Bennett was 16th in pass pressures according to FO's charting."

I didn't say Bennett didn't have a productive year. I said Bennett didn't have a *great* year. Yeah, he had a lot of pass pressures. So did the 4 DEs that were already on the roster. Yes, Bennett had 39.5, but Curry had 29.5 as well, on a significantly better line with lots more player rotation. Bennett had 934 snaps last year. Curry had 578. On a *per-snap basis*, Curry had *more pressures* than Bennett did. Bennett had a pressure every 23.6 snaps, Curry had a pressure every 19.6 snaps.

Again, I get that you think that Bennett is a big upgrade over Curry. As a pure DE, I don't see it. Now, if he moves inside fairly often to end up with Graham/Cox/Bennett/Barnett, yeah, I can buy that as a decent upgrade.

Still not sure that it's worth $11M on the cap, but who knows.

by yuda :: Fri, 03/09/2018 - 12:51pm

It seems likely to me that Bennett got a lot more blocking attention than Curry did. Curry was virtually always one-on-one with a blocker because of the other guys on the line.

by Pat :: Fri, 03/09/2018 - 3:15pm

Yeah, I dunno. It's obviously true that you can't get pressure on snaps when you don't play, so in comparing Curry to Bennett, you have to correct for the fact that Bennett saw 50% more snaps than Curry did.

Obviously yeah, Bennett likely saw more attention than Curry did, but figuring out how much to weight that isn't easy. The entire point here is that it's not like Curry was a scrub last year, so I just don't see replacing Curry with Bennett as a massive upgrade viewing him just at DE.

I mean, Philly already basically had the best defensive line in the league, especially in pass protection. I'll buy that Bennett could add a lot of value situationally by moving inside.

I just don't think, given their cap constraints, that that's necessarily the best use of resources. Especially because Graham needs a new contract.

by yuda :: Fri, 03/09/2018 - 4:31pm

I think what it boils down to is that the Eagles knew Curry wasn't coming back. They can't keep him on his current deal and if he declined to renegotiate, then I can see looking to backfill him.

That said, if they don't like Stephen Means as a rotational DE, I don't understand why they extended him last year.

by Pat :: Mon, 03/12/2018 - 11:11am

I'm more worried that it means that they know that *Graham* isn't coming back after this year, and I definitely didn't make that clear enough here. Pretty much the only reason they need any cap space this year is for Graham. Graham and Darby are the only free agents of merit after this year, and Darby's a really, really distant second.

And any increased risk in losing Graham is totally not worth the value of Bennett over a mid-round draft pick.

Regarding Means, they extended him for virtually nothing ($110K). Remember he had a great preseason last year, so the extension was a cheap way of making sure that if he continued that through the season, they'd have leverage to extend him to a real contract in 2018. Obviously, he didn't really do that.

by jtr :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 1:25pm

The thing about Bennett is that he is also an excellent interior pass rusher, and can help the DT unit in the nickel. These guys rotate a lot--Cox led the DT unit in snaps, with only about 58% of defensive snaps played. There's plenty of snaps to be had there, in a difficult role to generate pressure. Cox was the only guy on the DT unit with three or more sacks. If Barnett really ends up being the guy at DE, they can line up a killer Graham-Cox-Bennett-Barnett foursome on third-and-long.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:14pm

Maybe they have some way to keep both (I'm completely ignorant of their cap situation), and they want to make an already deep pass rush rotation even more deep?

by Harris :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:26pm

They're over the cap already, but Curry and his $9 million for 3 sacks were going to be elsewhere next year regardless. Dude got to win a Super Bowl with his childhood squad. He's had a good run.

by Pat :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:30pm

Philly is significantly over the cap for 2018 already - like, $9M or so. Adding Bennett on actually puts them at ~$15M over now.

The common assumptions were that they'd cut Torrey Smith (-$5M) and Brent Celek would retire or be cut (-$4M), which would get them just under (without even touching Curry).

Cutting Curry basically is a wash with Bennett's current salary, but even if there was no way to get Curry to redo his contract (he's way overpaid and would never earn that on the market, after all), I don't see how you aren't better off cutting Curry, keeping the savings, and replacing him with a relatively high draft pick.

by Southern Philly :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:12pm

"is guaranteed $13.5 million in 2019 and 2020."

He has no salary guarantees left in his contract, according to Over The Cap.

by skibrett15 :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:17pm

Yeah, following his trade by Seattle, Philly can move on from Bennett at any point with zero cap implications. Once they pay his roster bonus for 2018... then they are in for that much in 2018.

by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:21pm

My mistake, I misread OTC's table. For those who want to view it themselves:


by Dan :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:38pm

It looks like Bennett's salary (and cap hit) is $5.65M in 2018, $7M in 2019, and $8.5M in 2020, and Philly can cut him at any time without any dead money (since Seattle ate his signing bonus). Seems like a reasonable price (in picks + money) for a one-year rental, and if he plays well then they can keep him around longer.

by Pat :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:43pm

Bennett's salary in 2018 is part salary, part roster bonus paid on March 18th, and part per-game roster bonus. Right now he costs 5.65M against the Eagles, and if they cut him after March 18th he'll still cost 3M (so only a 2.65M savings).

by Dan :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 8:00pm

Vinny Curry costs $9M in new money for 2018, $9.25M in new money for 2019, and $10M in new money for 2020. Curry also has $6M of cap hit still left from his signing bonus.

So switching from Curry to Bennett will save $3.35M in new money in 2018, $2.25M in new money in 2019, and $1.5M in new money in 2020.

Getting rid of Curry will also accelerate the cap hit on that $6M of signing bonus, although if he's a post June 1 cut then that just means moving $2M of cap hit from 2020 to 2019.

by Pat :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 12:47pm

Switching from Curry to Bennett nets +$3.35M in actual paid cash, but nets $-0.65M on the salary cap. The Eagles just won the Super Bowl, and this isn't the Miami Marlins - I don't think Lurie's worried about cash flow. So it's the cap number that matters. Realistically getting Bennett just removes the possibility of gaining cap space at the 4th DE position.

by Southern Philly :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:25pm

Given their cap situation I wouldn't be surprised if they negotiated it to spread it out over two seasons.

by theslothook :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:27pm

Feels like a salary dump for the Seahawks, which I can understand.

Not sure what the Seahawks are going to be in the next few years. The LOB seems to be on its last legs and I'm not sure where the next crop of young talent is for this team. For years now it has relied on an aging defense and Wilson heroics. Last year, they stretched it to its breaking point and ultimately fell short. Looks to be more of the same.

The seahawks are an instructive example of just how long you can expect a team to maintain itself before change comes.

They basically hit on a bunch of stars all at once, all young, rising right from go. That run lasted from 2012 to 2017. 5 years of great play. That's probably as long as you can possibly hope.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:54pm

Absent a late round HOF qb, who is willing to take below market contracts for years. Those are easy to find.

by serutan :: Wed, 03/07/2018 - 8:31pm

Yup, that's why everybody has one.
Was wr

by theslothook :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 2:02am

There are only a few qbs I truly believe can carry a team with major deficiencies across the whole roster, including coaching. I won't get into the names(though I think there is one such player in the NFL right now); but absent that, continued success over a long span is indeed very rare..

by theslothook :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 2:02am

There are only a few qbs I truly believe can carry a team with major deficiencies across the whole roster, including coaching. I won't get into the names(though I think there is one such player in the NFL right now); but absent that, continued success over a long span is indeed very rare..

by Wade8813 :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 12:09am

I think that the Seahawks could have easily kept things going longer.

1. Don't trade for Percy Harvin (keep 1st and 3rd round pick)

2. Either don't trade for, or better figure out how to use Jimmy Graham (1st round pick)

3. Don't pay Kam Chancellor that last extension (which seemed bad to me before that injury might have ended his career)

4. Cliff Avril and Richard Sherman don't suffer injuries that likely last into the next year, at their age, right as the team may have been about to consider rebuilding anyway. With both going into the last year of their contracts.

5. Have an OL that isn't catastrophically terrible. They spent a lot of draft capital on OL, and I think they usually made the right choices with FA on OL. I think a lot of the issue was Cable. If Cable was better (or if Fant hadn't had a season-ending injury when he did), maybe we don't spend on Duane Brown (a 2nd and 3rd round pick).

6. Our drafting was amazing in 2010-2012, but below average, overall, since then (from what we've seen so far).

7. I think Bevell was below average at play-calling (and not because he called a pass during XLIX - but because he called THAT pass, among other things).

8. We could have won SB XLIX. If we had done so, maybe we would have had better morale for a while after that.

9. We moved on from Kris Richard rather quickly, despite the fact that he'd been with Pete for forever (and despite the fact that there were a ton of injuries on defense).

10. Malik McDowell gets what may have been a career ending injury before playing his 1st snap (top of the 2nd, basically a 1st).

* * * * *

So if you give us average drafting from 2013-2016, plus an additional two 1sts, two 2nds, and two 3rds, and slightly better injury luck, we could maybe have kept the gravy train rolling. Add in better coaching/playcalling, and who knows how good we could still be.

by theslothook :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 1:44am

What is average drafting? name me a team that has had an average draft from 12 - 16.

I also think a lot of these moves are with the perspective of hindsight. If wilson throws a better pass, literally no one is talking about the playcalling.

by theslothook :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 1:44am

What is average drafting? name me a team that has had an average draft from 12 - 16.

I also think a lot of these moves are with the perspective of hindsight. If wilson throws a better pass, literally no one is talking about the playcalling.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 5:55am

Geez ... I'd love to see how long your list would be if you were a Browns fan ...

by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 11:46am

You're missing the most important one, with a bullet:

*1. Don't let Scot McCloughan get away.

The 49ers let him get away, and we thought for a brief period that Trent Baalke was a good personnel guy. We were wrong...he was riding on McCloughan's picks.

The Seahawks let him get away, and they thought (maybe still think?) that John Schneider was a good personnel guy. That's wrong...he was leaning on McCloughan for all his best drafts.

He even dragged the Redskins to respectability before getting fired. Redskinsing it up again.

Now he's working for the Browns, who have the most draft capital in...ever, since the draft went to 7 rounds. I know people like crapping on the Browns, but most draft capital + best personnel guy? I'm predicting a good draft for those guys.

by theslothook :: Thu, 03/08/2018 - 1:31pm

I would too objectively, but they kept Hue Jackson as the head coach, a very ominous thing for whichever sob they draft at qb.

by The Ninjalectual :: Sat, 03/10/2018 - 5:44pm

McCloughan is a Brown? I missed that news. Good for him, I'm glad the usual Washington mud didn't stick to him (I recall Snyder and Allen lying about McCloughan relapsing to alcoholism, an incredible thing to lie about even for Snyder)