A familiar face has returned to the New England Patriots.
Yesterday, the Patriots claimed tight end Martellus Bennett from the waiver wire. The Green Bay Packers released the ex-Patriot earlier this week after he failed to disclose a medical condition to the team.
The thirty-year old-vet, on the Patriots’ squad last season, overtook a starting job in the offense after Rob Gronkowski had season-ending surgery. Bennett went on to have a statement year, showing fans his prime hadn’t passed by filling Gronk’s role perfectly. He posted 701 receiving yards and seven touchdowns with the Patriots. Three of these touchdowns came from Tom Brady in his first game back from suspension against the Browns. He earned his first Super Bowl ring with the Patriots after playing in the league for now a decade. He anchored the Patriots’ offense in Gronk’s absence, and fans admired what he did on and off the field in Foxborough.
In the 2016-17 off season, though Marty had fun in New England, he double-downed on his all-business attitude. He left the Patriots for the NFC-giant Packers, who offered more money. This season so far, however, took a turn for the worst quickly for Bennett. So far, Marty has seen fewer targets than anticipated. His quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, suffered a broken collarbone in October, now out for the remainder of the season. These events all led up to Bennett’s release, a positive note in an otherwise sour season.
Looking into Marty’s Injury
Martellus Bennett has not played in a game since October 22nd. His absence from the field came shortly after he announced that he’ll retire after this season. Currently on a three-year, $21-million contract with the Packers, Bennett showed no signs of nearing retirement prior to this year. His explanation? “Life.” Almost at the same time as announcing his retirement, Marty suffered an unexplained shoulder injury that has kept him sidelined since. The Packers released him because he did not offer a reasonable explanation of his ailments.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk is not fully convinced by this situation. Florio claims that Bennett probably toyed with retirement in order to be traded near the deadline, and afterwards his shoulder injury popped up. This all happened after Aaron Rodgers hit the injury reserve list, so what Florio says makes sense. It would be an advantage for the Patriots if Bennett was not actually injured. Only time will tell in the next few days.
A healthy Gronkowski and Bennett will pair up in the near future, and the Patriots’ offense can now regain its scary edge. With injuries plaguing the wide receiver core, Bill Belichick could electrify the offense by adding in more dual tight end sets. The Patriots have not seen this type of big-man offense in years, but it worked like a charm. Gronk and Marty share vertical threat similarities. Together they present a nightmare for linebackers and safeties assigned to either of them. Dual tight end sets will relieve the workload the wide receiver core will face. At the same time, it will give Tom Brady more wiggle room with calling play action, which could also spark the running game as well. The Patriots originally were planning to a similar set with Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen, but Allen has not lived up to expectations.
Watch out world, the Martysaurus is back in New England.
UPDATE: 11/10 AT 11:00 AM EST
This morning ESPN’s Adam Schefter has confirmed that Martellus Bennett has a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum. Pending Bennett’s physical with the Patriots he could possibly be facing season-ending IR or the waiver wire once more. More to come in the next 24 hours.
UPDATE: 11:50 AM EST
Ian Rapoport has reported that Marty passed his physical with the Patriots and practiced today. He hasn’t attended practice since October 22nd while he was on the Packers.
Martellus Bennett, who arrived in NE with a torn rotator cuff, passed his physical and was at practice. He didn’t practice for 2 weeks in GB https://t.co/XMtj3Z3J2R
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 10, 2017