New England Patriots: Until we meet again Martellus Bennett

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Martellus Bennett
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Martellus Bennett /

The New England Patriots predictably released veteran tight end Martellus Bennett on Wednesday, clearing up more cap space.

Martellus Bennett didn’t quite have the story book ending he had his first time around with the New England Patriots.

As expected, the Patriots announced on Wednesday that they have released Bennett just a week before he was due a $2 million roster bonus.  The veteran tight end was also due to count for over $6 million against the salary cap.

For what the team needs to do in the offseason, the decision was a no-brainer.

The release doesn’t mean the Patriots don’t appreciate Bennett or won’t attempt to bring him back at a more reasonable price.  The team claimed the 31-year-old tight end off waivers last year when he was released from the Green Bay Packers.

In just two games with the Patriots, Bennett showed he still had the ability to be an effective tight end in the system and still has chemistry with Tom Brady.  His time in New England his second time around was cut short due to a hamstring and shoulder injury severe enough to send him to injured reserve.

Now that he has been released, it will be interesting to see if he does retire, which is something he openly contemplated during the middle part of last season.

Speaking of contemplating retirement, the release of Martellus Bennett could indicate that the team is confident Rob Gronkowski will return.  Otherwise, they may have held on to Bennett to serve their pass-catching tight end needs.

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Until we meet again

After how Martellus Bennett performed during the 2016 Super Bowl season and during those two games in 2017, it won’t be a surprise if the Patriots do bring Bennett back at a cheaper price at some point.

With how things ended for him in Green Bay, teams may think twice about signing Bennett and the money won’t be there for him.  Therefore, if he does not decide to retire, the Patriots again will be a logical spot for him.

If he does retire, he is a player the New England Patriots may be able to lure back during the season if they need help at the tight end position.

Of course, there will be other enticing tight ends the team can chase in free agency like Tyler Eifert and Jimmy Graham if Gronkowski walks away from the game.  There are also some talented tight ends they could draft to add depth at the position.

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All in all, Martellus Bennett still have some football left in him, if he wants to play.  With or without Rob Gronkowski he may be the best, affordable option for the team.