The Patriots have claimed former Packers tight end Martellus Bennett, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The deal brings Bennett back to the team where he thrived in 2016 and won a Super Bowl ring. To make room, defensive end Geneo Grissom has been cut.
Bennett was stellar with the Patriots in 2016, hauling in 55 receptions for 701 yards and seven touchdowns. However, he was a total dud after signing a lucrative free agent deal with the Packers. In seven games, he had just 24 receptions, 233 yards, and zero touchdowns in seven games. Some in Green Bay believe that Bennett starting phoning it in after Aaron Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone.
By claiming Bennett, the Patriots assume the remainder of the veteran’s three-year, $21MM deal. However, much of his Year 1 salary was already paid out to him via signing bonus. Bennett is due just $423K for the rest of the season.
Initially, it was believed that Bennett would likely pass through waivers unclaimed. While he may have been checked out with the Packers, the Patriots are apparently confident that he will pick up right where he left off.
Last month, Bennett announced that he is considering retirement after the 2017 season. It remains to be seen whether his relocation to New England will change his mind about hanging up the cleats. If he can be productive once again, this could prove to be one of the greatest “rentals” in league history.
Bennett will now join a TE group headlined by Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen. After Grissom was cut, it appears that Jacob Hollister will remain on the 53-man roster for now as the fourth TE.
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