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March 9, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Will Griffen deal make the market that much hotter for Michael Bennett?

Here’s why Seahawk free-agent-to-be defensive end Michael Bennett decided to wait to see what might be out there before signing with anyone — the deal Minnesota’s Everson Griffen got today from the Vikings.

Griffen signed what is being reported as a five-year deal worth a total of $42 million, with $20 million guaranteed.

Griffen, like Bennett, was due to be an unrestricted free agent Tuesday, and generally was ranked behind Bennett on the list of potentially available defensive ends. NFL.com, for instance, slotted Bennett eighth on its list of the top free agents (and third among DEs) with Griffen at 19th (and fourth among DEs).

Griffen, who played at USC for Pete Carroll, is almost exactly two years younger than Bennett (Bennett will turn 29 on Nov. 13), but Bennett has the better numbers (17.5 sacks the last two seasons, while Griffen has that many in the last three).

So expect that Bennett and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, will examine this deal closely — which calls for $27 million over the first three years — and will want something similar, if not a bit more (here’s one analysis calling the Griffen a potential disaster).

Will the Seahawks, though, want to give Bennett $10 million a year over three or four years?

If so, it would make him the second-highest paid player on the team (for now) behind Percy Harvin, who is due to make $13.4 million in 2014, and Russell Okung ($11.24 million). (Source for salaries here).

By this time next week, we’ll undoubtedly know the answer to that question.

What is already clear is that the $10 million boost in the salary cap — to $133 millionĀ  in 2014 from $123 in 2013 — is heating up the market, the effects of which Bennett (and Rosenhaus) unquestionably wanted to gauge before locking Bennett into anything, especially considering this is the one moment in his career when he has a chance to really cash in.

Bennett turned out to be one of the bigger bargains in the NFL in 2014, playing on a one-year deal that ended up paying him $4.8 million.

Bennett, though, is clearly moving into the big time now. As I was finishing this, I saw this Tweet from the NFL’s Media PR account:

We’ll see what that means down the road.

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