The New England Patriots reportedly are acquiring a player they know well.
The Patriots are trading a 2020 fifth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for defensive end Michael Bennett and a 2020 seventh-round pick, a source told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McClane. For the price, this move is a no-brainer for the pass-rush needy Patriots.
The Patriots beat Bennett’s Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Bennett also is the brother of former NFL tight end Martellus Bennett, who played for the Patriots in 2016 and part of 2017.
Michael Bennett originally came into the NFL with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M in 2009. He also spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with whom he played under new Patriots defensive coordinator Greg Schiano in 2012. Schiano was Tampa Bay’s head coach at the time.
Bennett had nine sacks in 16 games with the Eagles last season. He also added 22 quarterback hits and 44 hurries, according to Pro Football Focus. The 33-year-old has 63 career sacks in 10 seasons. His most productive season came in 2015 when he had 10 sacks with the Seahawks.
Bennett has a base salary of $6.2 million in 2019 and $7 million in 2020. He also has $1 million worth of per game bonuses in both 2019 and 2020.
The Patriots are adding Bennett to their defensive end depth chart that already includes Adrian Clayborn, Keionta Davis, Ufomba Kamalu, Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise. John Simon and Trey Flowers are free agents.
Clayborn, Davis, Rivers and Wise all struggled to play up to expectations in 2018. The Patriots needed to acquire affordable, dependable pass rushers with the possibility they could lose Flowers in free agency, which begins March 13 at 4 p.m. ET.
The addition of Bennett increases the chances the Patriots choose to release Clayborn. It also likely decreases the odds they re-sign Flowers, if only slightly.
Bennett, like Flowers, can play on the edge or as an interior pass rusher on the defensive line. He has more versatility than Clayborn, who has a cap hit of nearly $6 million in 2019.
If the Patriots can re-sign Flowers in free agency, he and Bennett would form a forbiddable pass rush duo. Bennett is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and won Super Bowl XLVIII with the Seahawks.
Perhaps now with Michael on board, the Patriots could convince Martellus to come out of retirement to give them some much needed tight end depth.
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