The New England Patriots reportedly tried to lock up Martellus Bennett before the tight end even played his first game for them.
Bennett, who’s set to become a free agent this offseason, before the season turned down a contract extension from New England that would have paid him $7 million per season, according to a report from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Rapoport also reported the 29-year-old is “in for a big payday” and will resume contract negotiations with the Patriots after the season.
Bennett is in the final season of the four-year, $20.4 million contract he signed with the Chicago Bears in 2013. He has impressed in his first season with New England — he entered Sunday’s game against the Los Angles Rams with 42 catches for 540 yards and four touchdowns — and his role should grow moving forward with fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski now on injured reserve.
Bennett is one of several high-profile Patriots players set to hit the open market in 2017. That list also includes linebacker Dont’a Hightower, cornerbacks Malcolm Butler (a restricted free agent) and Logan Ryan, defensive ends Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long, and running back LeGarrette Blount.
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