Martellus Bennett is looking forward to free agency
Most players look forward to becoming a free agent, and Martellus Bennett can now be added to that list.
Super Bowl LI put a cap on the 2016 NFL season on Sunday night, so now the offseason can commence. The start of a new league year is the next big thing for veteran players, with free agency on the docket for those with expired contracts and those that will be cut. Among the players that played in the Super Bowl, tight end Martellus Bennett stands out as a notable free agent.
Bennett had five catches for 62 yards and a notable drawn pass interference in the Patriots’ Super Bowl win, and he had a productive regular season for the team (55 receptions for 701 yards and seven touchdowns) after being acquired via trade from the Chicago Bears last offseason.
Bennett is now headed for free agency next month. As expected, he has some thoughts on the prospect of cashing in this offseason.
“I’m going into free agency as a Super Bowl champion,” Bennett said after the game, via Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News. “You know they overpay Super Bowl champions!”
There is some history to back up Bennett’s point about Super Bowl champion players being overpaid, with the nice contracts past Super Bowl MVPs like Larry Brown and Dexter Jackson procured immediately after a big performance on that big stage. But it’s funny to hear Bennett acknowledge it openly and seemingly without apology, though it’s hardly surprising too given his noted loquaciousness.
Bennett will arguably be the top free agent tight end available. But he is likely to need offseason ankle surgery, and a knee issue limited him in practice late in the postseason. The Patriots will presumably have some interest in re-signing him as a backup to oft-injured Rob Gronkowski, but Bennett should be able to find a better opportunity and a bigger contract elsewhere if he wants to.