Last night, the New England Patriots won the NFL offseason. As you’ve read by now, they traded for former Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett and a sixth-round draft pick in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick. This is THE best move of the entire offseason to date, hands down, no questions asked.
By pairing the 6’6” Texas A&M product with Rob Gronkowski, they’ve given themselves the most formidable tight end combo the NFL has seen since Gronk played with Aaron Hernandez. And frankly, I like this pairing just as much. Bennett is just a tad larger than #87, who of course is a complete athletic freak. A former Division I basketball player, Bennett is no slouch himself.
(I don’t care if this catch was out of bounds… he still caught it)
In an injury-shortened season last year, a year that saw him play in only 11 games, Bennett caught 53 passes for about 440 yards and 3 touchdowns. For a better idea of what the man can do when he’s healthy (and focused, more on that in a minute), two seasons ago, he had 90 catches for +900 yards and 6 touchdowns. Keep in mind that these numbers happened with Jay Cutler as his quarterback.
I find him to be a pretty solid run-blocker on top of that, so the Patriots seem to be getting themselves a steal. We all know how Josh McDaniels loves to run two tight end sets, so this is a dream-come-true for him. This begs the question… why was the price so cheap for Bennett?
Well, his effort is spotty. He’s a bit outspoken (I think he’s funny, but he can be a jerk too I guess). On the field, he can be a bit selfish; he’s known for complaining and giving up when his targets are down. Bennett also skipped the Bears’ voluntary offseason workouts last year amidst issues with his contract. That type of stuff won’t be tolerated in New England, especially considering that he’s, as good as he is, not even close to being the most talented target Tom Brady now has at his disposal. I’m sure he’ll get his catches and his touchdowns, but he’s insane if he thinks he will be the most targeted guy on the team.
This move doesn’t come without risks, but then again, no move comes without risks. I stand pat on this being the best transaction yet. As far as his contract goes, New England is eating all of it, but at an affordable $5 million per year, just for this season. The Patriots have been on a role over the last 24 hours. It made me sad that Chandler Jones, one of my favorite current players, got traded, but not after I saw what they got. Jonathan Cooper is an excellent guard, provided he stays healthy, and I like the 2nd round draft pick. Plus, when you replace Jones for the cheaper and still-effective Chris Long, who’s better at the run and hungry to win, that’s a great switch. Grabbing Shea McLellin, who’s coming off a career year with the Bears, to sure up the linebacker position is huge too. I don’t hate the Donald Brown signing; I just find it to be irrelevant. But hey, if they can make him work, then all the power to them.
Somebody call the jeweler, there’s guys in New England who will need some ring-fittings.
Cover Photo courtesy of CBS Sports.
GIFs courtesy of SB Nation and thebiglead.com, in reverse order.