FOXBORO, Mass. — Former Patriots defensive end Michael Bennett seems to be in a better place after leaving New England.
Bennett was expected to be one of the Patriots’ top defensive playmakers this season, but he quickly became a part-time player in New England. Bennett wasn’t pleased about his role, so he was suspended one game then traded to the Dallas Cowboys for a draft pick.
“Looks like he plays mostly on sub, three-technique, pass-rush situations,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday.
That draft pick will become a sixth-rounder if Bennett, who has already played three games, plays in a fourth with the Cowboys, who take on the Patriots on Sunday. If Bennett plays fewer than four games with the Cowboys, it will be a seventh-round pick.
Bennett has three sacks, five QB hits and seven hurries with the Cowboys in three games, per Pro Football Focus. He was productive in limited time with the Patriots, as well, contributing 2.5 sacks, one QB hit and six hurries in six games.
“I mean, look, they’ve got a lot of good players on their defensive line, so I don’t know how many pressures they have, but I mean, it’s a lot,” Belichick said. “They get ahead, they get in third down, or really any down. These guys are explosive, they’re very disruptive — negative plays, tackles for loss, linebackers are very active. (Jaylon) Smith, (Leighton) Vander Esch, probably as good as anybody we’ll play against all year. A lot of disruptive guys up front. Put them all together and it’s all a problem. It’s not just one guy, I don’t think.”
And the Patriots have continued to be dominant on defense without Bennett. The Patriots are 3-1 in games without Bennett. They’ve let up an average of 15 points in those contests, and the Patriots aren’t suffering the pass-rush department. They sacked Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz five times on Sunday.
The Cowboys are happy to have him, however.
“He’s really transitioned very smoothly into our team,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said in a conference call Wednesday. “A really well-respected guy, well-respected player, and trying to understand how we’re asking him to do things and he’s done a really nice job for us.”
It seems the Bennett trade worked out fine for all involved.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports Images