Notebook: Seahawks part with Bennett, Sherman likely next

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett is joining the Super Bowl champions, after Seattle agreed to trade Bennett to the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday.

The Seahawks will part with a seventh-round pick and Bennett in return for a fifth-rounder and wide receiver Marcus Johnson, according to multiple reports.

Bennett, 32, is owed around $21 million over the next three years, though none of that money is guaranteed. His cap hit in 2018 is $6.65 million.

The Eagles are currently estimated to be more than $15 million over the cap, meaning several veterans could be released or traded before the start of the league year on March 14. With Bennett’s arrival, defensive end Vinny Curry ($11 million cap hit, $5 million in potential savings) could be among that group.

–Meanwhile, cornerback Richard Sherman’s departure from the Seahawks appears imminent, after an NFL Network report that he will be released “in the next two days.”

Per NFL Network’s Mike Silver, the Seahawks want to give Sherman “a jump on free agency,” which will lead to his imminent release. Silver added that Seattle has not closed the door on bringing Sherman back at a lower salary if his market is tepid, although such a scenario is unlikely.

Sherman, who will turn 30 later this month, is entering the final year of his contract. Releasing him would save the team $11 million against the salary cap.

–Russell Wilson’s moonlighting tour will continue with a series of SportsCenter specials next month, ESPN announced.

The Seahawks quarterback will mentor several 2018 NFL Draft quarterback prospects and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, assuming the role that analyst Jon Gruden held before agreeing to return to the NFL as coach of the Oakland Raiders. Gruden hosted the QB Camp series featured by ESPN for the past eight years.

Quarterbacks Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma, Mason Rudolph of Oklahoma State and J.T. Barrett of Ohio State will appear in a 30-minute special on April 17.

–Peyton Manning could receive $10 million annually to replace Gruden at ESPN if he’s willing to become the network’s lead NFL analyst.

According to Sporting News, Manning has a similar offer from FOX, which would use him as the voice of “Thursday Night Football,” after the network won the bidding for the weeknight game in the offseason.

Gruden left the ESPN “Monday Night Football” booth for what is reportedly a 10-year, $100 million contract with the Oakland Raiders.

–Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas is on course to inform the team whether he will return in 2018 or retire.

Thomas confesses he’s working out as if he’ll play again after recovering from a season-ending triceps injury, but also embraced the freedom of not being on the field. Thomas started a top-rated podcast and is kicking the tires on a broadcasting career.

“Not leaning one way or the other towards retirement,” Thomas told ESPN. “Trying to get something decided before free agency.”

–Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones settled up with the NFL, paying $2 million in legal fees.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Jones paid the seven-figure tab as stipulated by the league constitution stating owners bringing litigation against the NFL are subject to repaying legal fees.

After initial reports implied Jones would appeal, Schefter and NFL Network reported the debt had been paid.

–All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown is converting most of his $7.875 million salary for the 2018 season into a signing bonus, giving the Pittsburgh Steelers needed salary-cap relief.

The Steelers recently reworked the deals of guard David DeCastro and defensive end Stephon Tuitt but were put into a corner by applying the franchise tag to running back Le’Veon Bell, whose $14.544 million salary pushed Pittsburgh about $8.7 million over the cap.

Brown went on Snapchat to post an explanation of the revised contract by agent Drew Rosenhaus. Brown was already due a $6 million roster bonus as part of his four-year, $68 million extension signed last year.

–The Los Angeles Rams traded linebacker Alec Ogletree to the New York Giants in exchange for fourth- and sixth-round draft picks, according to multiple reports.

The Giants will also receive the Rams’ seventh-round selection in 2019.

Ogletree was a first-round pick out of Georgia in 2013 and started all but one game he appeared in for the Rams since. He missed 12 games in 2015 due to injuries. The 26-year-old recorded 95 tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery and an interception last season.

–The New England Patriots released veteran tight end Martellus Bennett, just hours after the Seahawks agreed to trade his older brother Michael to the Eagles.

Martellus Bennett, 30, played two games for New England last season after being waived by the Green Bay Packers. He finished the season on injured reserve with hamstring and shoulder issues.

Bennett made 55 catches for 701 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016. He was limited to 30 receptions for 286 yards and no scores last fall. He had signed a three-year, $21 million deal with Green Bay last year but was cut midseason for failure to disclose a physical condition after he posted a story on social media saying he was contemplating retirement.

–The Cincinnati Bengals agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Chris Baker, his agent confirmed.

Baker, 30, joined the Bucs last offseason on a three-year, $15.75 million contract with $6 million guaranteed, but he was released after just one season in Tampa as questions swirled about his effort level. He finished 2017 with a half-sack, five quarterback hits, two passes defensed and 33 tackles.

A former undrafted free agent, Baker carved out a role during five seasons in Washington, tallying 9.5 sacks and 27 QB hits combined in 2015 and 2016. In his career, he has 128 tackles, 12.0 sacks and seven passes defensed in 93 appearances (56 starts).

–The Cowboys made a move to start freeing up space under the salary cap, releasing defensive end Benson Mayowa.

With starters DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford, as well as last year’s first-round pick, Taco Charlton, still around, Mayowa’s release will free up $2.75 million. His full cap hit was set to be $3.85 million in 2018.

The Cowboys can also move restricted free agent David Irving – should they keep him — back to end after he spent eight games at defensive tackle in 2017. Irving missed four games with a concussion and another four to suspension under the NFL’s drug protocol last season.

–Field Level Media

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