Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett wants to continue his NFL career
New England Patriots former Pro Bowl tight end Martellus Bennett is coming off one of the most challenging seasons of his NFL career. He saw it come to an abrupt end last November due to a groin injury that landed him on season-ending IR that led to him contemplate retirement after just 10 seasons in the league.
Since then, there hadn’t been much dialogue surrounding his NFL future regarding his desire to continue playing for another season as he’s set to enter the second year of his three-year, $21 million deal. According to Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network, the 30-year-old has voiced that he plans on returning for the 2018 campaign.
Despite publicly contemplating retirement last season, #Patriots TE Martellus Bennett does want to continue playing, I’m told. He’s due a $2M roster bonus on March 14, so New England has a decision… but his $6.2M cap hit isn’t bad.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 23, 2018
Bennett’s contract isn’t too expensive as he will only account for $6.2 million in base salary and bonuses next season. If he can prove he is healthy, there is no reason to believe that the Patriots wouldn’t seriously consider keeping him on board, especially with the uncertainty surrounding All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski’s future as he is reportedly considering retirement. His presence would also bode well to provide injury insurance for Gronkowski if he doesn’t step away from the game.
The Patriots could lean on Bennett to step in as the starter as he has proven over his career to be capable receiving option as he made more than 50 catches in each of the last five years prior to 2017. He had initially signed with the Green Bay Packers last offseason, but things quickly fell apart due to his nagging injuries and struggle to fit into the offseason recording just 30 catches for 286 receiving yards.
Bennett was waived by the Packers then picked up by the Patriots shortly after that where he played in just two games before being put on the season-ending IR. In those two games, he had six catches on six targets for 53 receiving yards. With Bennett stating that he’s committed to continuing his NFL career, New England will now have until March 14 to make a decision on if they keep him or part ways.