It appears Martellus Bennett‘s days in Chicago may be numbered, and one of the Bears’ division rivals is said to be eyeing the veteran tight end. A source tells Luke Rodgers of 247Sports.com (Twitter link) that the Packers have shown some interest in Bennett.
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As last week’s reports suggested, agent Kennard McGuire and the Bears have been seeking out potential trade partners for the team in the hopes of finding Bennett an “agreeable landing spot.” However, there’s skepticism around the league that the Bears will be able to find a suitable offer for their tight end. The idea that the division-rival Packers would be able to work out a deal with the Bears seems even more far-fetched, so it’s not surprising that Ed Werder of ESPN (video link) suggests Green Bay would only have interest if Bennett were to be released.
Bennett, who will turn 29 on Thursday, was slowed by injuries in 2015, but still managed to haul in 53 passes for 439 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games. Previously, Bennett established new career-highs across the board in 2014 with 90 receptions, 916 yards, and six TDs, earning his first Pro Bowl nod.
In the wake of that Pro Bowl season, Bennett sought a raise and an extension, skipping the Bears’ voluntary OTAs last spring. However, Chicago, having recently hired a new head coach and GM, was unwilling to work out a new deal at that point, and it now sounds as if the team would prefer to move on from Bennett, who reportedly “frustrated coaches and teammates” in 2015.
The Packers aren’t typically very active in free agency, but when they do explore the market, GM Ted Thompson and the team’s decision-makers often prefer players who have been released by other clubs, since those free agents don’t count toward the draft compensatory pick formula for the following season. So Green Bay is worth keeping an eye on if Bennett is ultimately cut by the Bears.
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