Martellus Bennett

Packers Attempting To Recoup Martellus Bennett Signing Bonus

Less than a month after cutting Martellus Bennett, the Packers are attempting to recover some of the signing bonus they paid the then-coveted tight end in free agency.

The Packers filed paperwork to reclaim $4.2MM of Bennett’s $6.3MM signing bonus on Thursday, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports. They waived Bennett with a “Failure to Disclose a Physical Condition” designation, leading to this decision — one that was in the works. Bennett’s bonus was to be spread over the life of his three-year, $21MM deal, creating the $4.2MM figure now in dispute.

Bennett alleged the Packers were well aware of his shoulder problem, reportedly a torn rotator cuff, dating back to when he signed. He said it worsened while in Green Bay and criticized a team doctor for convincing him to put off a surgery he reportedly was told by independent physicians he needed. Other Packers, present and past, came to Dr. Pat McKenzie’s defense, and Clay Matthews — per Demovsky — said he and his teammates “got a good laugh” when Bennett suited up for the Patriots during his first game back with them after sitting out that previous Monday with the Packers because of the shoulder malady.

The 30-year-old tight end is now on IR after suffering a hamstring injury, and he will undergo shoulder surgery. Bennett passed a Patriots physical, and the league office didn’t have any issues with how the pass-catcher’s team change went down.

The NFLPA is aware of this situation, Demovsky reports, adding an arbitrator is expected to review this matter before next season because of salary cap purposes.

The Packers could have gone after Bennett’s entire bonus, but Demovsky notes him playing in seven games with Green Bay makes only seeking the remaining $4.2MM a stronger case. With Bennett’s bonus on their books, the Packers are projected to have more than $43MM in cap space in 2018. Bennett said earlier this season he was considering retirement at its conclusion.

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Patriots To Place Martellus Bennett On IR

Martellus Bennett‘s controversial exit from Green Bay led to two games with the Patriots. Those look like the only two Bennett will play for New England this season.

Bennett has been battling a shoulder injury all season, and the Patriots are set to place the veteran tight end on IR, Jim McBride of the Boston Globe tweets.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com also reports (on Twitter) the tight end is headed for IR and surgery, noting a hamstring problem may be the bigger reason behind this move. Rapoport adds Bennett will have shoulder surgery, at long last.

Bennett has been dealing with a tear in one of his hamstrings, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald tweets, noting he’d planned to play through the rotator cuff and labrum problems he’d dealt with in his shoulder since last season.

The Packers waived Bennett earlier this month, and the 30-year-old pass-catcher accused the team of attempting to convince him to avoid having a surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff he said worsened this season. He passed a Pats physical, clearing the way for the defending Super Bowl champions’ waiver claim, and played Week 10 and Week 11, catching six passes for 53 yards. With his season likely being finished, Bennett will close with 286 air yards and no touchdowns.

After a season in which Bennett became the team’s primary tight end after a Rob Gronkowski injury, the Patriots are in better shape at tight end. They still have Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen healthy.

Bennett also said earlier this season he would likely retire at its conclusion. There are two years remaining on Bennett’s deal. Bennett being on the Pats’ roster as of March 14 triggers a $2MM bonus, so the Pats will make a decision on the pass-catcher before free agency, Howe tweets.

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Chiefs Mulled Claiming TE Martellus Bennett

The Chiefs contemplated putting in a waiver claim for tight end Martellus Bennett after he was cut by the Packers last week, according to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star.Martellus Bennett (Vertical)

“We looked at that as a potential (move),” head coach Andy Reid said. “(But) he’s in a good place. It worked out good for him.”

Bennett, of course, was eventually claimed by the Patriots, but his presence in Kansas City would have been an interesting proposition. Like New England, the Chiefs boast one of the league’s best tight ends (Travis Kelce), so Bennett wouldn’t have been an immediate starter. More likely, he would’ve taken the role of third-stringer Ross Travis , who’s played only 70 total snaps in 2017, joining Demetrius Harris as Kelce’s backups.

Bennett’s salary wouldn’t have been a problem for the Chiefs in 2017, as any club could have absorbed the remainder of Bennett’s $900K base. But Bennett’s 2018 salary would have almost certainly led Kansas City to release Bennett before the start of next season, as the Chiefs currently project to have fewer than $2MM in 2018 cap space.

Reid didn’t elaborate on Kansas City’s decision to not place a claim on Bennett, but the club likely had reservations about Bennett’s injured shoulder. The Patriots were the only team to put a claim in on Bennett, but the NFL doesn’t plan to investigate the veteran tight end’s reunion with New England.

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Latest On Patriots, Martellus Bennett

Martellus Bennett‘s unusual exit from the Packers and reunion with the Patriots raised some eyebrows in the football world. However, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart says the league office does not have any issues with how things played out (Twitter link via Ben Volin of The Boston Globe).

The Packers signed Bennett to a lucrative multi-year deal with the expectation that he would be a big, steady target for Aaron Rodgers in the red zone. Instead, Bennett never clicked with the Packers offense, perhaps due in part to his torn rotator cuff. After he intimated that he would retire after the 2017 season, the Packers released Bennett, opening the door for him to be claimed by his former team. It doesn’t take an Alex Jones-level conspiracy theorist to question whether Bennett might have orchestrated his own return to New England, but the commissioner’s office doesn’t share that same skepticism.

After he was cut loose, Bennett instructed his agent to inform interested teams that he might not be able to play due to his injured shoulder. Then, on Sunday, Bennett was on the field for seven snaps and caught three balls for 38 yards. He looked rather healthy in the 41-16 romp over Denver, and that didn’t help to quiet speculation about a potential pre-release arrangement between Bennett and the Patriots.

It’s a closed case in the eyes of the NFL, but the Packers may still go after a portion of Bennett’s signing bonus.

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Latest On Patriots TE Martellus Bennett

After being waived by the Packers last week, tight end Martellus Bennett told his agent to inform teams not to claim him due to his injured shoulder, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.Martellus Bennett (vertical)

“It’s not about, ‘Could you play?’ It’s, ‘Should you play?’ It was one of those things,” Bennett said. “Right now, I’m just like, (expletive) it. At first, I told my agent to tell no teams to claim me because I was still trying to get the surgery. So when Bill (Belichick) called and said they claimed me, I was like, ‘No (expletive) way.’ ”

Bennett, who was apparently considering taking a desk job with Netflix for the rest of the season, will attempt to play through his injury as he closes the campaign with New England. Bennett disparaged Green Bay’s medical staff on his way out of town, but current and former Packers have since come to the unit’s defense. The Packers, meanwhile, may attempt to recoup a portion of Bennett’s signing bonus, and they could do so even if Bennett plays the rest of the year, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

Bennett’s case is interesting on a number of levels, but its ramifications on the NFL’s compensatory pick system are unclear at the moment. At a base level, Belichick’s claim of Bennett seems designed to test the comp pick formula, as Nick Korte of Over the Cap notes (Twitter links). Players who are cut before Week 10 typically don’t count towards the compensatory process, but Bennett’s situation is unique given that he was claimed off waivers. However, Korte ultimately projects Bennett will not factor into the comp pick formula.

Claiming Bennett was essentially a no-risk move for the Patriots — Bennett is due a $2MM roster bonus on the third day of the 2018 league year, reports Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, and if New England declines it, the club will have no further financial investment in the veteran tight end. The Patriots could also come away with even more windfall if the Packers file a grievance against Bennett. If Green Bay wins such a grievance, the Patriots would be entitled to a $13MM (Bennett’s salaries in 2018-19) credit on their cap next season, per salary cap guru Troy Chapman (Twitter link).

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NFC Notes: R. Wilson, Gruden, Eli, Bennett

Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, citing a source close to the situation, reports that the Seahawks violated the league’s concussion protocol by allowing quarterback Russell Wilson to reenter Thursday night’s game against Arizona without going to the locker room and being cleared by a team doctor and an independent physician. However, a league spokesman told ESPN that the NFL has not conducted any interviews yet, so it has not reached any conclusions. The NFL and NFLPA will jointly review the situation over the coming weeks.

If Seattle is determined to have violated the protocol, it could be fined up to $150K.

Now for more from the NFC:

  • Every year, it seems, we hear rumors concerning Jon Gruden‘s potential return to the sidelines as a head coach. With his former team, the Buccaneers, sputtering in 2017, and with Dirk Koetter looking less likely to return in 2018, Gruden-to-Tampa Bay rumors will only continue to pick up steam, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes. Gruden has mended his relationship with Bucs ownership and still lives about 10 minutes from the team facility, and a source close to him indicated it is possible that Gruden returns to the Bucs.
  • The Giants have no plans to bench Eli Manning, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes. Although their long-time signal-caller does not figure to be a part of any long-term rebuild, Rapoport says it would take a catastrophe for Big Blue to sit Manning down this season.
  • The Packers released Martellus Bennett with a Failure to Disclose a Physical Condition designation, alleging that Bennett failed to tell the team that he had a torn rotator cuff before he signed with the team this offseason. Bennett, of course, refutes that notion, but Green Bay intends to recoup the signing bonus it paid to Bennett, per Rapoport. Whether the Packers will seek the full $6.3MM bonus or the $4.2MM prorated portion is unclear, but they have over a month in which to file their grievance.
  • Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott, whose suspension was reinstated earlier this week, is leaving the country to clear his head and train in an undisclosed location, per Rapoport (via Twitter).

Latest On Martellus Bennett

Martellus Bennett did not practice in the final days of his Packers tenure and did not play against the Lions on Monday night. The Packers cut him, only for the talented tight end to return to the Patriots via waiver claim.

Bennett appeared at Patriots practice Friday, indicating he passed a physical despite reportedly having a torn rotator cuff. The 10th-year veteran addressed his status on Friday afternoon.

The 30-year-old pass-catcher said (on Instagram, via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport) he did, in fact, opt for shoulder surgery earlier this season. Bennett said he asked the Packers to examine his shoulder further after the team’s Week 5 win over the Cowboys, and he added he elected to have surgery. However, Bennett says the Packers persuaded him to play through this injury — one he said was made worse this season.

Three subsequent visits to separate doctors revealed, per Bennett, the damaged shoulder needed to be repaired. And he posts that he decided to do that, only to see the Packers cut him. He alleges the Packers’ reasoning for waiving him (with a Failure to Disclose a Physical Condition designation) was bogus, writing that he circled “shoulder” weekly when he filled out a team-issued body evaluation sheet.

Bennett writes in his post he made this decision for surgery after Week 5. This comes after a report indicated the tight end wanted out of Green Bay after Aaron Rodgers‘ Week 6 injury. Bennett mentions his October declaration to retire after this season as the Packers’ reasoning for this cut. He was due a $2MM roster bonus on Day 1 of the 2018 league year. The $6.3MM guarantee in Bennett’s three-year, $21MM Packers pact was spread through 2019 via signing bonus.

While uncertain to play this week with the Patriots, Bennett is traveling to Denver, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. He’s listed as questionable to face the Broncos. Bennett now trying to play through pain for a different team, and not getting this surgery that’s been reportedly recommended, strikes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein as odd (Twitter link).

Demovsky (Twitter link) said he’s heard consistent praise for the Packers doctor Bennett’s criticized, Dr. Pat McKenzie, including rave reviews from Rodgers. Silverstein adds McKenzie has a conservative reputation when it comes to injuries, and Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal (on Twitter) echoes this sentiment.

So, this might not be the last that’s discussed about Bennett’s unremarkable (but not exactly forgettable) Packers tenure. For now, though, the Packers (via Silverstein, on Twitter) aren’t responding to Bennett’s allegations.

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Martellus Bennett Passes Patriots Physical

Martellus Bennett‘s status has been one of the more intriguing stories in recent days, and Friday’s brought new chapters to it.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported Bennett has a torn rotator cuff, but he showed up for Patriots practice on Friday to indicate he’s passed a physical for his new team, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).

The Patriots were the only team to claim Bennett, whom they didn’t re-sign this offseason to lead to the Packers making a rare venture into non-street free agency in adding him. Varying degrees of rotator cuff tears exist, and Bennett — who played in seven Packers games before missing Monday’s — looks to have avoided a serious tear.

Bennett has 24 receptions for 233 yards this season after being the top tight end on the Patriots’ latest Super Bowl team. This time around, the injured player joins Dwayne Allen — who has no catches this season despite playing in each of New England’s eight games — as a supplementary cog behind Rob Gronkowski. While Gronkowski is one of the NFL’s more injury-prone players, he’s healthy right now.

Two years remain on the Bennett deal the Patriots are now responsible for, but the 30-year-old tight end said he plans to retire after this season. He may be attempting to play hurt in an environment that clearly worked for him last season.

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Martellus Bennett Has Torn Rotator Cuff

The Packers waived tight end Martellus Bennett because he had a torn rotator cuff, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). He may or may not try to play through the injury. If he can’t, the Patriots could simply place him on injured reserve. Martellus Bennett (vertical)

[RELATED: Patriots Claim TE Martellus Bennett]

There are varying degrees to rotator cuff tears and, presumably, Bennett is not dealing with a complete tear. A partial tear could help to explain his mediocre production in 2017. In seven games for the Packers, Bennett had just 24 grabs for 233 yards and zero touchdowns.

Bennett has indicated that he will retire after the 2017 season, so he might be willing to play through the pain without fear of the additional damage he might do to his shoulder. If he can gut it out, he might just have a chance at winning a second consecutive Super Bowl ring with the Patriots. This time around, he won’t have to be on the field as much thanks to Rob Gronkowski being healthy and the presence of Dwayne Allen.

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Patriots Claim TE Martellus Bennett

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."<strong

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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