The Seattle Seahawks announced Monday that defensive end Michael Bennett has signed a multi-year deal to stay with the defending Super Bowl champion. The team announced the deal Monday.
At a news conference, Bennett talked about how much he was looking forward to staying with the team.
“It’s really exciting to be back with these guys and try to win another Super Bowl,” said Bennett.
The defensive end also pointed to the fans as a motivator for staying in Seattle.
“I love the fans here and that was a big part of wanting to get another deal (with the Seahawks)," Bennett said.
He said that fans remembered him from 2009, when the Seahawks released him as an undrafted free agent.
Multiple news outlets, including USA TODAY Sports and NBC Pro Football Talk, reported Bennett signed a four-year, $28.5 million contract that included $16 million in guarantees.
Chicago had reportedly been negotiating with Bennett, whose brother is a tight end with the Bears. But he ultimately decided to return to Seattle.
Bennett was set to become an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday. Bennett had an excellent season for the Seahawks in 2013 after he signed a one-year deal for $4.8 million as an unrestricted free agent.
That gamble paid off as Bennett became one of the hottest commodities in free agency.
"I mean I always bet on myself and believe in myself and my talents and being able to come here and get a chance to play with these guys, I knew it was going to be special," Bennett said on Feb. 5.
From the time Seattle was done celebrating its first Super Bowl championship, Bennett indicated a desire to stay with the Seahawks but only for the right price. He knew this was his one chance to cash in on a big contract as an unrestricted free agent. It's why Bennett waited until after teams could begin speaking with agents regarding unrestricted free agents and seeing what was available on the open market before deciding on a return to Seattle.
"I love the team, I love my teammates. I mean Pete (Carroll) does a great job of letting us play. So I want to be a part of that," Bennett said after the victory parade. "I know we can go back and win the Super Bowl again with all of these guys, but it's a business. But I definitely want to be back."
Seattle seemed to understand what it would take to retain Bennett. The Seahawks parted with defensive end Red Bryant and wide receiver Sidney Rice to create additional salary cap space. Carroll and general manager John Schneider have been steadfast that their top priorities in free agency were retaining their own players and not making big splashes by signing others. Bennett was at the top of the list with wide receiver Golden Tate not far behind.
"We want this team together, we want to see if we can keep this team together," Carroll said following the Super Bowl. "Every decision is difficult that we have to face and guys that are at the end of their contracts, those are big issues for us. We love the guys, we love what they do and what they bring, and we'd like to keep together as best as we can."
Bennett previously played four seasons in Tampa Bay. In 2013, Bennett recorded 8.5 regular-season sacks, as well as a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Against New Orleans in the divisional-round game, Bennett had six tackles, a forced fumble and fumble recovery as well as a half-sack. In the NFC Championship, he tallied a sack and recovered a fumble against division-rival San Francisco.
Bennett has 145 tackles, 23.5 sacks, two passes defensed, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one touchdown in his career.