FOXBORO, Mass. — The Michael Bennett trade might not be finalized just yet, but Bill Belichick confirmed Friday the New England Patriots are in the process of moving on from the veteran defensive end.
“Yeah, there’s some process going on there,” Belichick said in his morning news conference. “I don’t know exactly where it is.”
According to reports Thursday night, the Patriots are trading Bennett to the Dallas Cowboys for a seventh-round draft pick that can become a sixth-rounder if certain conditions are met.
Bennett was a productive player during his brief stint in New England but had only a limited role in the Patriots’ new-look 3-4 defense. He played just 35.7 percent of defensive snaps over the team’s first six games — including a season-low 11 in Week 6 — before being suspended for the seventh following an argument with position coach Bret Bielema.
This was an unfamiliar position for the 33-year-old, who’d played 69.0 percent of snaps for the Philadelphia Eagles last season and 84.8 percent for the Seattle Seahawks in 2017.
“We’re winning, and that’s the most important thing for me as a teammate,” Bennett said Thursday upon his return from suspension. “But I think as an individual, you always want to play more and make some more plays. So it’s always that great balance between both.”
When asked during that same meeting with reporters whether he’s on good terms with the coaching staff, Bennett responded: “I don’t know. You’ve got to ask them.”
Belichick offered a vague explanation for the trade Friday morning.
“There’s a lot of factors,” the coach said. “Multiple considerations on this. But look, in the end, I think Mike’s a good player. We brought him here, and he helped our team. I think he would help us, but there are certain things we’ve got to work with and work around, and that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Asked whether Bennett asked to be traded, Belichick replied: “I don’t think that was ever part of the conversation.”
The Patriots will look to improve to 8-0 on the season when they host the 2-4 Cleveland Browns on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images