Shortly after New England’s stunning Super Bowl LI victory over Atlanta on Sunday, Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett made it clear that he’s eyeing a significant raise this offseason.
“I’m going into free agency as a Super Bowl champion,” he told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link). “You know they overpay Super Bowl champions!”
The Patriots’ acquisition of Bennett last offseason proved to be a fruitful move for both sides in 2016. Despite dealing with an ankle injury that will likely require surgery, Bennett emerged as a key part of a Patriots offense that mostly went without superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Bennett hauled in 55 receptions, seven touchdowns and 701 yards on 73 targets during the regular season and was a notable part of their triumph over the Falcons. In what could go down as his final game with the Patriots, Bennett nabbed five catches for 62 yards. Moreover, the overtime pass interference penalty he drew on linebacker De’Vondre Campbell on Atlanta’s 2-yard line set up running back James White‘s championship-winning touchdown plunge two plays later.
Now, having helped the Patriots to their fifth title, the soon-to-be 30-year-old Bennett could join his fifth franchise when free agency opens in March. The Patriots are clearly interested in preventing that from happening, though, as they and the nine-year veteran held extension talks during the season and are likely to continue discussing a new deal over the next month. If no agreement comes to fruition, Bennett will take his 403-catch, 30-score, championship-winning resume to the open market.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.