New England Patriots Rumor: Tight End Martellus Bennett Has Immense Interest From Other Teams In The AFC
The New England Patriots are aware that they need a solid back-up tight end for future hall of famer Rob Gronkowski due to Gronk’s injury prone play style, so when they acquire Martellus Bennett last offseason in a deal with the Chicago Bears it was an absoulute blessing for Tom Brady and the Patriots offense.
Bennett allowed the team to continue to throw the ball to the tight end even with Gronk missing most of the season due to an injury. Now with Bennett poised to enter free agency as one of the best free agent tight ends there has been significant interest from teams looking to acquire his services.
New England would love to resign the colorful personality but according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe there are several suitors looking at him including the Oakland Raiders and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Bennett’s contract with New England expires at the start of the 2017 season on March 7, the Patriots have actually offered him a contract already before the start of the 2016 Super Bowl winning campaign. That offer came in at a reported $7 million per year according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. Bennett turned that offer down in the hopes that a strong season could vault that price tag even higher.
Bennett finished the 2016 season with 55 receptions for 701 yards and seven touchdown receptions. In Super Bowl LI, he had five receptions for 62 yards which might be a big deal for a team like Oakland who could easily be in the Super Bowl conversation next season if their QB Derek Carr is healthy.
And stop @’ing me about taking less money. You take less money and your job? All of you take a pay cut hahaha.
— Martellus Bennett (@MartysaurusRex) February 22, 2017
Bennett has expressed interest in returning to New England, but looking at the Tweet above there seems to be no home town discount in the question in his case. While I would love to see Marty return to Boston and backup Gronk, you have to figure the Patriots will not chase his price tag especially with the team looking to land a big name wideout.
New England has ample salary cap room with just over $60 million dollars of free cap space at the moment, but with eyes on a flashy wide out and a lot of rotating pieces on defense needing to be filled the dollar amount they can offer Bennett may not end in a happy conclusion for those looking for his return.
The issue they might run into is behind Bennett on the free agent market there are slim pickings as you can see below in the top free agent tight ends not named Martellus Bennett.
- Jared Cook
- Trey Burton
- Jordan Cameron
- Jack Doyle
- Luke Willson
- Jermaine Gresham
- Anthony Fasano
- Vernon Davis
- Larry Donnell
- Dion Sims
Nothing truly stands out on this list, maybe a player like Cameron who has had success in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns before not panning out in Miami, or Cook who has talent but has struggled at times in Green Bay, or even a player like Davis who was an All-Pro tight end when he was with the 49er’s but at 33-years-old has struggled to remain relevant.
One name that might catch Bill Belichick’s eye is former New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell, a big bodied tight end that has red zone potential. He had a breakout year in 2014 with 6 touchdowns but since then his production has gone down with his snap counts diminishing. This past season he only saw 22 throws come his way in which he hauled in 15 for 92 yards and 1 touchdown. Nothing spectacular, but you can see some promise in the 28-year-old.
Obviously Bennett should be a priority in terms of securing a back-up tight end, but there are options in the free agent pool, and knowing Belichick there is likely some lacrosse player from Rutgers that could fill in.l