The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles bolstered their formidable pass rush with another top-level defensive lineman.
The Eagles acquired three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett from the Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday, three people familiar with the trade told The Associated Press. The deal won’t be officially announced until the NFL’s league year opens next Wednesday. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release the trade information.
Seattle gets wide receiver Marcus Johnson and a fifth-round pick, while Philadelphia also receives a seventh-round pick.
Bennett had 8 1/2 sacks last season and 54 in his nine-year career. The 32-year-old Bennett has three years remaining on his contract, with a base salary of just $1.65 million in 2018. That number jumps to $6 million in 2019 and $7.5 million in 2020.
The Eagles will have to make roster moves to accommodate Bennett because they already are over the salary cap. Defensive end Vinny Curry is a likely candidate to be traded or released. Curry started 19 games this season, including playoffs, had three sacks and has three years left on a five-year, $47 million deal.
Bennett joins a deep front unit that includes Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Chris Long and Tim Jernigan. He probably won’t face double-teaming as much and could thrive in defensive co-ordinator Jim Schwartz’s aggressive system.
The outspoken Bennett has been heavily involved in social activism and fits in nicely in Philadelphia’s locker room with Long and safety Malcolm Jenkins, who are leaders in those areas.
Seattle could be moving on from another defensive star. Cornerback Richard Sherman also is on the trading block.
Johnson has five catches for 45 yards in 10 career games.