What could have been a family reunion in Foxborough turned out to be just the opposite.
The New England Patriots cut tight end Martellus Bennett on Wednesday, the same day they missed out on acquiring his brother, defensive end Michael Bennett from the Seattle Seahawks.
Michael and a seventh-round pick landed with the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a fifth-round pick and wide receiver Marcus Johnson. But it appears the Patriots came in late with a better offer, but the Seahawks wanted to honor their word, according to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport.
“From what I am told, this was basically done, a done deal between the Seahawks and Eagles — this was Tuesday morning. Then the Patriots came in late and said ‘Well, maybe we’ll give you this’ — a little bit better draft-pick compensation. The problem was the (Seahawks-Eagles) deal was basically already done. … The Seahawks are honorable people and they did the deal that was basically consummated earlier.”
A big reason the Patriots cut Martellus Bennett — which was an expected move — was with the intent of saving a roughly $6 million cap hit next season. But it turns out the tight end would have been willing to take a cut to his salary if it meant playing with his brother.
“This was a complicated situation,” Rapoport said. “First of all, the Bennett brothers were going nuts trying to get it somehow so they could play together on the Patriots. I know Martellus Bennett was talking about taking less salary, trying to stick around so the Patriots could then trade for his brother.”
While it sounds nice in theory that the two brothers would end up together for the first time since their days at Texas A&M, it was no slam dunk that the Patriots would hang on to Martellus even if they acquired Michael. In addition to his salary — even if it was restructured — he is coming off a season marred by injury.