The Eagles will trade for Seattle Seahawks veteran defensive end Michael Bennett, a league source said Wednesday.
ESPN first reported the news. The Eagles will surrender a fifth-round pick and wide receiver Marcus Johnson for Bennett and a seventh-round pick. No trades can be official until the start of the league year next week.
Bennett, 32, totaled 8.5 sacks last season and has 54 during his 10-year career. The three-time Pro Bowler will join an Eagles defensive end rotation that already has veterans Brandon Graham, Chris Long, and Vinny Curry, and 2017 first-round pick Derek Barnett.
This move, however, likely means the end of Curry’s six-year Eagles career. Curry will count $11 million against the salary cap, and the Eagles could save $5 million if they trade or release him. The Eagles need the savings to help get under the salary cap before the league year begins next Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Bennett, who signed a three-year contract extension worth $31.5 million at the end of the 2016 season, has a $1.65 million base salary and roster bonuses of $4 million. The Seahawks are reshaping a roster that was once tops in the NFC, and Bennett is among a few big-name defensive players who could be departing Seattle this offseason.
Barnett will likely start at defensive end next season. Bennett and Long would give the Eagles proven pass rushers to rotate into the game, a priority for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Bennett is an ideal fit for Schwartz’s scheme as an edge rusher and an interior rusher on third downs.
“We feel very confident for us to be successful on defense, it has to be waves of defensive linemen, that those guys come in fresh, that they’re fastballs off the edge and then the inside,” top executive Howie Roseman said last week at the NFL scouting combine.
Roseman vowed to be creative in trying to upgrade the roster even while tight against the salary cap and with fewer draft picks. He also said the Eagles would continue to prioritize the defensive line. This trade is an example, and it likely won’t be Roseman’s last offseason deal.
Bennett is also one of the NFL’s most notably outspoken players. He will join one of the NFL’s strongest locker rooms. Bennett has a book coming out next month, Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.
A few Eagles already applauded the move on social media, including Pro Bowlers Brandon Brooks and Zach Ertz.
YESSIR!!!! Welcome to the squad @mosesbread72
— Brandon Brooks (@bbrooks_79) March 7, 2018
👀👀Let’s Gooo!!! @mosesbread72
— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) March 7, 2018
The Eagles had two fifth-round draft picks, including one from Seattle acquired in a deal for Matt Tobin during the preseason. It’s not yet known which pick the Eagles are giving the Seahawks in this deal.
Johnson has been in the organization the past two years and excelled during training camp last season, although he fell to the No. 6 wide receiver last year when rookie Shelton Gibson passed him in midseason.