Before the NFL barely had time to digest their deal with Arizona for Chandler Jones, the New England Patriots struck the trade market again, this time reaching an agreement with the Chicago Bears to bring in former Pro Bowl tight end Martellus Bennett. It’s a somewhat complex deal that brings different benefits to both sides. Here is a breakdown of what each team gets out of it and the projected results it will yield for them.
New England Patriots:
- Martellus Bennett
- 204th pick (6th round)
Essentially the Patriots get back their own 6th round pick that they traded to Chicago last year for linebacker Jonathan Bostic. The basis of this trade is obvious. Bennett is one of the better two-way tight ends in football. A good receiver but also a capable blocker who will help protect Tom Brady and open up their ground game, which struggled in 2015.
Teaming him with Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots offense will have all sorts of ways to attack defenses and will be particularly dangerous in the red zone as Bennett puts another 6’6″ target with strong hands on the field. The lingering question is the contract. Bennett is a free agent in 2017 and has been demanding a pay raise from his current $5.1 million average salary per year.
It’s hard seeing the Patriots meeting that price given the big contracts they have coming up for a number of other players on the roster including Dont’a Hightower, Malcolm Butler and Jamie Collins. So the chances are good he’s a one-year rental the team hopes forward their Super Bowl plans in 2016.
- 127th pick (4th round)
- $5.185 million in cap space
This is the same song, second verse for Bears GM Ryan Pace. He heard a lot of people jibing him for trading Brandon Marshall, another productive player, last season. Now he’s done the same thing again, dealing Bennett for what amounts to a high draft pick and salary cap space.
Here’s the thing. It’s not like Chicago is a contender. Not yet. They’re focused on rebuilding and Bennett wasn’t in their plans. Keep in mind several respected outlets felt the Bears were wasting their time trying to trade him at all. He’s a player known for being outspoken and a malcontent and is coming off a season that ended with injury. The fact they got another pick in the top four rounds is shocking, if nothing else.
Now the Bears have five picks within the first 127 selections. Keep in mind Pace turned that New York Jets pick he got for Brandon Marshall into starting safety Adrian Amos. One shouldn’t discount his ability to recognize talent where others might overlook it. There is also the addition of $5 million in cap space to consider too. Given how well he has managed the free agent market to this point, finding value purchases like Danny Trevathan, Jerell Freeman and Akiem Hicks all over, it might not be wise to give that man more money to spend.
All in all, this is another case of a win-win trade. The New England Patriots find yet another creative short-term way to arm their Hall of Fame quarterback to continue his assault on the record books. The Chicago Bears remove a distraction from their roster and improve their long-term outlook by stockpiling money and good draft choices.