The Seattle Seahawks have agreed to trade three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick and backup wide receiver Marcus Johnson, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday.
Bennett, 32, is due to earn $7.4m next season, the first of three remaining years on his contract, making him a poor fit for a Seattle team looking to get younger and cheaper on defense.
The veteran pass rusher appeared to confirm the swap on Wednesday afternoon when he tweeted a photoshopped image of himself in an Eagles jersey with the caption ‘free meek mill’, a nod to the Philadelphia rapper whose incarceration on minor probation infractions has become a focal point in the fight against racial injustice.
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The Eagles do not have a surplus of cap room but they will take on Bennett anyway in their bid to repeat as Super Bowl champions, a move that will likely require trading either Vinny Curry or Beau Allen. By trading Johnson, they part ways with a reserve wideout who’s played sparingly while making only five catches in 10 career games.
The news came down amid reports that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman could also be facing the end of his Seattle days.
It likely wasn’t a surprise for Bennett, who knew his time in Seattle was coming to an end. He told The News Tribune’s Gregg Bell on New Year’s Eve, “I probably won’t be back next year. Just seems like it’s a young man’s game. I can see them going younger, with younger players. That’s part of the game.”
But Bennett still managed 8.5 sacks last season, which made the 32-year-old defensive end a must-get for the Eagles.
Bennett was slated to earn $8.4 million in 2018, with a $3 million roster bonus on March 18. He had a respectable 2017 season — making his third straight Pro Bowl — with 8.5 sacks and 24 quarterback hits in 16 games, all while dealing with injuries. But as he said himself, the Seahawks want to get younger — and younger talent comes cheaper. By trading Bennett instead of cutting him outright, the Seahawks still save money, but they get some value in return for him.