Bennett, 28, has said he wants to finish his career in Seattle, but he dismissed the idea of a Dynasty Discount, telling NFL Network, "There’s no such thing as a discount. This is not Costco. This is not Walmart. This is real life. There’s no discount, really, because you don’t go out there and give a discount effort. You go out there and give the best effort every day, you fight for your teammates, and you want to be compensated for the way you perform and the kind of teammate you are.”
Despite the tough talk, Bennett seems pretty likely to return.
The best pass rushers get paid $12 million a year, but no one wanted to give Bennett and his balky shoulder that kind of money last year, and it is unlikely anyone will offer him anything beyond $10 million this year either. (The two-week window for franchise tags began Monday, but the Seahawks almost surely will not use a $12 million tender on Bennett.)
However, $7 million or $8 million is a reasonable number for a guy who led the Hawks with 8.5 sacks and provided amazing versatility in 2013. The Seahawks paid Chris Clemons and Cliff Avril around $7 million a year and might be willing to go that high for Bennett, who probably would take it.
Bennett is one of 19 Seahawks scheduled to be free agents, and unless a lot of them get inflated offers from other teams, the Hawks should be able to keep at least half of them.
Here is our level of confidence for the Hawks keeping each, along with alternatives if they lose players:
WR Doug Baldwin: The team's No. 2 receiver in 2013 is a restricted free agent and will be back for at least another year – probably on the first-round tender of $3 million. The Hawks also might eventually sign him to a multi-year deal once their other big business is done.
LB Mike Morgan: The versatile backup has just two years of accrued service and thus is tied to the Seahawks for another season. (Note: We had him as a restricted free agent originally, but he was on the Seattle roster for just five games in 2011, one short of the number needed for an accrued season, so only his 2012 and 2013 seasons count.)
DL Michael Bennett: The Hawks surely will give him a raise from $4.8 million -- to perhaps $7 million -- and he probably will take it rather than go elsewhere for a little more.
Alternatives: If the Hawks can't re-sign Bennett, they probably will rely on young linemen such as Greg Scruggs and Jordan Hill to try to fill the void. They also might try to make sure Clinton McDonald re-signs. Or they could find a cheap veteran.
OT Breno Giacomini: Some other team might throw more money his way, but the 28-year-old fits the Hawks, and his injurious 2013 season plays into the team's favor financially.
Alternatives: If the team decides to let him go, the options would be Michael Bowie, a rookie or a cheaper veteran. The Hawks also could consider Jonathan Martin, the maligned Miami tackle who played at Stanford with Seahawks Doug Baldwin and Richard Sherman and figures to be released or traded for cheap by the Dolphins.
K Steven Hauschka: The last-minute 2013 re-sign was terrific and should be back on a reasonable multi-year deal.
Alternatives: There are a dozen other kickers available, and the Hawks certainly aren't going to sweat the position when they have at least half a dozen other priorities.
QB Tarvaris Jackson: It's hard to see Jackson leaving – unless the Hawks think the cheaper B.J. Daniels or someone else can be the No. 2 QB.
Alternatives: Colt McCoy, who many thought would fit in Seattle last year before he was traded from Cleveland to San Francisco, is a free agent.
S Jeron Johnson: The backup safety's season ended early due to ongoing hamstring problems, and the Hawks are unlikely to tender the restricted free agent – the lowest tender will be about $1.4 million. They probably will bring him back for the fourth-year minimum of $645,000.
Alternatives: The Hawks could go with DeShawn Shead and younger guys at this spot.
S Chris Maragos: He took a pay cut to stay last season, so why would he leave now?
Alternatives: If the 27-year-old is not re-signed, Shead and younger guys will vie for his roster spot.
WR Golden Tate: He might want more ($8 million) than the Hawks are willing to fork out (probably $5 million tops).
Alternatives: A healthy Percy Harvin makes Tate less valuable anyway, and the Hawks still have Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse. They also are sure to draft a receiver whether Tate returns or not.
DT Tony McDaniel: He played well for the Hawks, who probably would like to have the 29-year-old back if he's about as affordable as he was last season (vet minimum of $890,000).
Alternatives: If the 6-foot-7 McDaniel gets a better offer, the Hawks will need to find the tall interior lineman they like. Alex Carrington (6-5) of the Buffalo Bills or Ropati Pitoitua (6-8) of the Tennessee Titans could be free-agent options.
LB O'Brien Schofield: It all depends on whether some other team offers the 26-year-old a starting gig and better money. If he's amenable to an incentive-laden two- or three-year deal, it would be a good investment by the Hawks.
Alternatives: The Hawks let most of their other young linebackers (Allen Bradford, John Lotulelei, et al.) go last year, so if they don't bring back Schofield and Morgan they will have to find some more.
OL Lemuel Jeanpierre: Jeanpierre started three games for Max Unger last season and did not draw a penalty. He apparently has only three years of service toward free agency, which makes him restricted. However, the Hawks seem unlikely to tender him for $1.4 million. They probably will let him become a free agent and hope he comes back on a cheap deal.
Alternatives: Jared Smith, a seventh-round converted defensive lineman in 2013, practiced behind Jeanpierre at center and could be primed to replace him. The Hawks also recently signed two-year veteran Greg Van Roten. And they likely will draft a lineman or two.
CB Walter Thurmond: Thurmond's value plummeted when he tested positive for marijuana and was suspended for four games. Now in the NFL's drug program and in a saturated cornerback market, he might not get any offers he likes. That would be to Seattle's advantage.
Alternatives: If some team pays more than the Hawks are willing to, they will be fine. Byron Maxwell took over as the starter when Thurmond and Brandon Browner were out, and Jeremy Lane is a solid third corner.
FB Michael Robinson: The 30-year-old came back and got a ring, but will the Hawks go back to their young backs?
Alternatives: Derrick Coleman and Spencer Ware were working at fullback until both were injured and Robinson was re-signed. The team could go back to that plan.
TE Anthony McCoy: The 26-year-old sat out the season on IR but should be a cheap re-sign and could have a role in 2014.
Alternatives: The Hawks might draft a tight end as well.
DT Clinton McDonald: The 27-year-old had his best season and probably earned a good deal elsewhere.
Alternatives: McDonald ended up doing the job the Hawks hoped Jordan Hill would do, so if they can't bring back McDonald, it is easy to project Hill back into that role – assuming he can stay healthy.
OL Paul McQuistan: The 30-year-old vet's time in Seattle is likely done; the team can do better with younger players.
Alternatives: James Carpenter will have one last chance to prove himself at left guard. Instead of rotating with McQuistan, though, he will be challenged by Michael Bowie or Alvin Bailey or a rookie.
TE Kellen Davis: The late addition was a decent third tight end, but the Hawks are likely to find someone else.
Alternatives: McCoy seems likely to return, and the team might draft a player as well.
CB Brandon Browner: A yearlong suspension means Browner is out of the equation for 2014. Most have written him off entirely, but it would not be a shock to see him back for cheap in 2015.
Alternatives: Maxwell became better than Browner, and the Hawks are well situated at this position in 2014.