Michael Bennett Staying Santonio Holmes Going: NFL Player Watch

Michael Bennett Santonio HolmesThe Michael Bennett Sweepstakes was a little less than 24 hours away on Monday morning when the Seattle Seahawks put a wrench in the works. They have re-signed the popular defensive end to a four-year deal worth $28.5 million. Bennett had always maintained his desire to stay in Seattle. However, he also expressed a need to make the salary he felt he deserved. As the free agent period approached, Bennett’s agent was in contact with several other teams. Two other NFL squads were willing to pay him more than Seattle was offering him. Bennett stayed true to his words, however, and opted to stay in Seattle.

Michael Bennett played for Seattle in the 2013 season on a one-year contract worth $4.8 million. He had spent the rest of his career as a member of the Tampa Bay Bucs, who picked him up after Seattle had released him in 2009. The Seahawks signed Bennett because they needed a quick, strong, pass rush specialist to terrorize quarterbacks while the legion of boom shut down wide receivers. Turned out Seattle got exactly what they were hoping for. Bennett sacked opposing quarterbacks 8.5 times in 2013, as well as forcing and recovering a fumble, which he returned for a score. He was also instrumental in the Seahawks playoff wins, helping a stout Seattle defense march all the way to the Super Bowl.

The New York Jets made one final move today before the free agent period begins. They have parted ways with veteran wide receiver Santonio Holmes. Holmes had been in New York for four years, and has been both loved and hated by the fans. He joined the team after having his best career as a professional athlete with the Pittsburg Steelers in 2009, when he was named Super bowl MVP. Holmes made some spectacular plays in his first year in New York. He helped to lead the Jets in to the playoffs, despite being suspended for the first quarter of the season. New York would eventually lose in the AFC Championship game to the Steelers, but Holmes had worked his way in to fans’ hearts, and the expectations were high. He re-signed with them in the off-season, and headed in to 2011 with very lofty goals.

Unfortunately for both sides, 2010 was the best it got for Holmes in a Jet’s uniform. 2011 saw him produce the worst numbers in his career. He had only 51 receptions for 654 yards. He did manage to set his career high touchdown mark with eight, but that was the sole highlight for him that season. Worst still, he got in to an altercation with teammate Wayne Hunter during a huddle in the final game against the Dolphins. Rex Ryan benched Holmes for the rest of the game, which the Jets lost. As a result, they missed the playoffs.

Holmes missed all but the first four games in the 2012 season after suffering a major foot injury. He returned to the Jets in 2013 with a restructured contract that saw him take a significant pay cut. Though he made a few strong plays during the season, it was obvious he was not the player he once was. By releasing him, the Jets free up $10.75 million in cap space.

Commentary by Chris Chisam

Chicago Tribune

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