The Eagles have discussed the possibility of trading Bennett with other teams, according to multiple NFL sources. The team’s leverage in negotiations is that it could bring him back for 2019, but two sources close to the situation said Bennett will eventually be released, barring something unforeseen, in lieu of a deal.
We had already heard that the Eagles discussed Bennett trade scenarios at the NFL Combine. But this new reporting makes it sound like there’s a good chance the Eagles are just going to cut him.
Releasing Bennett sure isn’t going to be a popular move, if it does indeed happen. He finished second on the Eagles in sacks last year with nine. Bennett also ranked 21st out of 109 edge defenders in PFF’s pressure rate. He had the second most quarterback hits in the NFL. Letting that type of player walk out the door with zero value in return is not a good move. Keep in mind the Eagles would not be eligible to receive a compensatory pick if they cut Bennett.
Earlier this week, I tried to make sense of the Eagles’ willingness to move on from Bennett. (I also discussed it more at length in the latest BGN Radio episode.)
So, why would the Eagles be looking to move on from Bennett? The aforementioned financial implications are obvious. [The Eagles can save $7.2 million in cap space by cutting or trading him.] Beyond that, there were grumblings that Bennett wasn’t happy was his playing time in Philly’s heavy defensive end rotation. There’s also the possibility that Bennett is still facing legal and/or league discipline relating back to last year’s felony indictment.
In addition to this, there’s the fact that Bennett wants a pay raise. He said as much during a Friday appearance on NFL Network. He also retweeted this tweet from his official Twitter account:
Michael Bennett has 2-years $15.2 million remaining on his contract. None of that money is guaranteed. At 34-years old, security & one last chance at a payday makes sense. Doubt it happens with #Eagles unless they keep his current figures & guaranteed a large portion of the money https://t.co/FzaTdLfalr— Mike Lederer (@MikeLederer) March 8, 2019
Bennett is not wrong for wanting more money. The 33-year-old doesn’t even rank top 20 in annual edge rusher salary and this is probably his last chance to get a significant pay day.
The problem, of course, is that the Eagles are limited on cap space and they may not be super motivated to give more money to an aging defender who is potentially facing discipline and seemed unhappy with his role prior to Derek Barnett getting hurt last year.
We’ll soon see how this one shakes out.