Tight end Martellus Bennett is a free agent once again. But how many bridges has he burned?
In a move that surprised no one, the New England Patriots released tight end Martellus Bennett on Wednesday, as Field Yates first reported:
The move cleared more than $6 million in cap space for the Patriots.
After a messy exit from the Green Bay Packers last season, in which Bennett claimed to need season-ending surgery before being waived and promptly suiting up for the Patriots the following week, are NFL teams going to be wary of Bennett and his infamous locker-room distractions?
Or will Bennett’s potential be too much for some team to resist?
Bennett, 30, eventually landed on injured reserve after posting 53 yards on six receptions with New England.
Let’s take a look at three possible landing spots for Bennett this offseason.
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Given his growing list of fit issues in the league, the next team that takes a chance on Bennett needs to have a strong, established culture. There’s no question defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia has that in place. Philly’s is a locker room that is fiercely devoted to leader Carson Wentz and has come to expect high production out of its pass-catchers. If Bennett is going to return to his 2016 form, it might have to be with a team as solid as the Eagles. Maybe his brother, Michael, a new Eagle himself, could help recruit him?
2. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals could be moving on from tight end Tyler Eifert this offseason, and if that’s the case, they’re going to need to make up for his production quickly. We’ve documented how Bennett has disrupted previous locker rooms, but the Bengals are in the midst of trying to overhaul their culture and, while Bennett is a risk, they could use a little more fire in the building.
3. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are likely going to lose tight end Ben Watson to retirement this offseason and will be looking to make up for some of his production. Joe Flacco needs some serious help in the passing game; as NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein points out, he hasn’t had a 300-yard passing game over his last 19 starts.