Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett rejected a $7MM per year extension offer before the season, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). However, talks are expected to resume after the season concludes.
Bennett, 29, was reportedly one of several New England players that received contract offers earlier this year, although reports have indicated that those proposals were rather team-friendly, presumably containing little incentive for the player to sign on the dotted line. Additionally, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com previously reported that the Patriots explored adding only a single year to Bennett’s deal, so it’s possible that the veteran tight end is aiming for a longer commitment.
Nevertheless, Bennett figures to be an offseason priority for the Patriots, especially now that Rob Gronkowski has undergone yet another surgery and continues to face health questions. But Bennett won’t be the only New England player heading for free agency next spring, as Dont’a Hightower, Jabaal Sheard, LeGarrette Blount, Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon, Malcolm Butler (restricted), and others are scheduled to hit the open market.
With Gronkowski sidelined for the rest of the season, Bennett will take over as New England’s primary tight end, and have a chance to build on what has already been a solid 2016 campaign. After the Patriots acquired him (plus a sixth-round pick) from the Bears in exchange for a fourth-rounder, Bennett has hauled in 42 passes for 540 yards and four touchdowns.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.