This probably doesn't bode well for Michael Bennett's future in Philadelphia.
The Eagles' defensive end was on NFL Network on Friday morning and was asked about a recent report that the Eagles have been discussing trading him (see story).
"I don't know what's happening with the Eagles," Bennett said.
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Here's the most important part of what Bennett said on Friday morning. He was asked what it's like to hear his name in trade rumors:
You're always caught off guard when your name is brought up in the trade block or being traded but you understand that people want to acquire your services. I think we (are) in a tough situation as far as the salary cap, and I'm not willing to take a pay cut. I actually want a pay raise at this point. Whatever happens, just to know that whatever team I go to I want to get paid more than I am now.
"We're in a tough situation as far as the salary cap and I'm not willing to take a pay cut. I actually want a pay raise."@mosesbread72 on his situation with the @Eagles. pic.twitter.com/i3BkmJigA9 — GMFB (@gmfb) March 8, 2019
Well, that certainly won't help the Eagles trade Bennett. Most teams aren't lining up to trade for a 33-year-old player who is unhappy with his contract. They at least aren't lining up to trade away anything valuable.
Bennett had nine sacks and was the Eagles' best defensive end in 2018 and is under contract for two more seasons. He carries base salaries of $6.2 million and $7 million over the next two years with cap hits of $7.2 million and $8 million. That sounds like a lot, but it really isn't when we're talking about pass rushers. In fairness, he probably does deserve a raise, but it seems unlikely the Eagles are going to give him one, especially after re-signing Brandon Graham to a three-year, $40 million deal.
It sounds like Bennett might be trying to force the Eagles to cut him free so he can test the open market as a free agent. If the Eagles did that, they would do so without leaving any dead money. They would save his entire $7.2 million cap hit in 2019 and $8 million hit in 2020.
The problem is, of course, Bennett was their best defensive end last season and his production won't be easy to match. Although, Bennett can be a tricky personality fit. The Eagles seemed to handle him well for the most part, but an unhappy Bennett doesn't seem like a good thing for a locker room.
If Bennett isn't back in 2019, the Eagles will have Graham (whom they re-signed), Derek Barnett coming back from a shoulder surgery and unproven Josh Sweat. Chris Long's situation is unclear. He's under contract, but has said he wants to play, not just be a locker room guy. This is also a deep draft class with defensive linemen, so the Eagles could replenish there as well.
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