Just after learning they wouldn’t re-sign Jared Cook, the Packers have added a new tight end, as Green Bay announced that it has signed Martellus Bennett. It’s a three-year, $21MM deal, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
Bennett, who turns 30 years old today, will earn quite the birthday present as he heads to the Packers in order to catch passes from Aaron Rodgers. Of course, Bennett didn’t have it too bad in New England with Tom Brady, but once the Patriots acquired fellow tight end Dwayne Allen from the Colts, Bennett appeared as good as gone. Bennett reportedly rejected an in-season extension from New England, and was looking for $9MM annually on the open market.
With Cook out of the picture, Bennett becomes the primary tight end in a Green Bay offense that ranked fourth in DVOA last season. While Cook posted a solid bounceback season in 2016, there’s little question Bennett is the superior player: Bennett ranked as PFR’s No. 20 overall free agent and the No. 1 tight end on the market, ahead of Cook, Jack Doyle, and Vernon Davis.
The Patriots acquired Bennett and a sixth-round pick from the Bears in exchange for a fourth-round pick, and the acquisition paid immediate dividends. Appearing in all 16 games, Bennett managed 55 receptions for 701 yards and seven touchdowns, and helped New England overcome the loss of fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Bennett created a healthy market during the legal tampering and the first two days of free agency. The Raiders reportedly showed “heavy interest” in his services, while Giants, Jaguars, and Raiders were also eyeing Bennett. Instead, he’ll slot in alongside Richard Rodgers in the Packers’ tight end group.
Adam Schefter of ESPN.com was the first to report the deal (Twitter link), while Tom Pelissero of USA Today noted that it’s a multi-year contract (Twitter link). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.