David Banks/Associated Press
One Bennett brother wasn’t enough for the New England Patriots.
Tight end Martellus Bennett won Super Bowl LI with the Patriots before announcing his retirement in 2018. Now, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Friday afternoon that the Patriots are finalizing a trade to acquire defensive end Michael Bennett from the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles are set to receive fifth- and seventh-round picks for the 2020 NFL Draft in return.
Martellus reacted on Twitter to the news of his brother following in his footsteps to Foxborough:
New England will be Bennett’s fourth team since entering the league with Tampa Bay in 2009. Last season, the 33-year-old posted 34 tackles, nine sacks and two forced fumbles in 16 regular-season games for the Eagles. Between Tampa Bay and Philly, Bennett was a key part of the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl XLVIII win.
According to a longer report from McLane, the Eagles began shopping Bennett last week as a result of re-signing defensive end Brandon Graham. Graham’s return made it unlikely that Bennett would start in Philly.
The move comes hours after Bennett joined NFL Network’s Good Morning Football and frankly stated that he wasn’t willing to take a pay cut:
“I know that I’m one of the best players in the NFL. You look statistically last year, quarterback hits, [tackles for loss], and with how I approach the game, I love football and whatever team I’m on, I’m going to take that same attitude and go out there and be a nasty player and try to dominate on the defensive line and be the best teammate and the best player that I can possibly be. …
“You’re always caught off guard whenever your name is brought up in the trade blocks … You understand that people want to acquire your services and we’re in a tough situation as far as the salary cap. But I’m not willing to take a pay cut. I actually want a pay raise at this point.
“So whatever happens just to know that whatever team I go to, I want to get paid more than I get paid right now.”
Bennett has two years remaining on his current three-year, $30.5 million contract with a $7.2 million cap hit this season and $8 million in 2020, per Spotrac.
While money is the first priority for Bennett, the Patriots also seem to be a good fit.
Familiarity between Bennett and the Patriots doesn’t end with his younger brother previously playing there. Last month, the Patriots hired Greg Schiano as their new defensive coordinator, and Bennett played defense under Schiano in Tampa Bay.