Last year, tight end Martellus Bennett told the Packers that he was planning on retiring after the season. As a result, the Packers released Bennett midway through the year, paving the way for the Patriots to claim him. The change of scenery has apparently changed his plans as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears that Bennett wants to continue playing.
Whether the Patriots will seek to move forward with him, however, is unclear. Bennett is due a $2MM roster bonus on March 14, so New England may look to cut bait before that date. Meanwhile, his $6.2MM cap hit isn’t exorbitant and could be worthwhile if he is healthy and fully committed to football.
Bennett had a great year for the Patriots in 2016, hauling in 55 receptions for 701 yards and seven touchdowns. Unfortunately for the Packers, he didn’t deliver after signing a three-year, $21MM deal with them in free agency. In seven games, he had just 24 receptions, 233 yards, and zero touchdowns. Some in Green Bay believed that Bennett starting phoning it in after Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone, which led the team to bail on him in November. The Patriots had Bennett on the field for two weeks before having to place him on IR.
The Patriots need to make two determinations. The first is whether Bennett is able to play and wants to play. If the answer to both is yes, the second is taking a guess at his free agent value. If the Pats see Bennett getting less than $6.2MM on the open market – which is quite possible since the perception is that he quit on the Packers – there could be room to negotiate.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.