With the new league year set to commence on Wednesday, teams are starting to make moves.
One of those teams, the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, have reportedly swung a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles for defensive end, Michael Bennett. In exchange for the 33-year old veteran, the Patriots have sent a 2020 5th-round pick to the Eagles. In addition, the Patriots also received a 2020 7th-round pick. The trade can’t become official until Wednesday.
An #Eagles trade of DE Michael Bennett to the Patriots is going down as of this writing, NFL sources said. Draft picks still be ironed out.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) March 8, 2019
Despite being on the wrong side of 30, Bennett is still an incredibly productive player. Last season, his lone year with the Eagles, Bennett notched nine sacks and a career-best 30 quarterback hits. Both would be tops on the Patriots a year ago. In addition, his 68 pressures (according to PFF) were tied for fifth in the entire NFL last year. In his five previous seasons with the Seahawks, he had 39 sacks and 118 quarterback hits and appeared in two Super Bowls. He won Super Bowl XLVIII against the Broncos and lost XLIX to the Patriots the next season.
Bennett broke into the NFL in 2009 when he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he spent four seasons. In his final year with the team in 2012, he was coached by new Patriots defensive coordinator Greg Schiano when he was the head coach with the Bucs. Bennett is under contract through the 2020 season and holds a cap hit of $7.2 million in 2019 and $8 million in 2020.
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|5 yr||5 yr||SEA||75||62||7||3||39||1||39.0||204||131||73||69||118|
|4 yr||4 yr||TAM||50||28||4||2||0||0||15.0||98||84||14||34||30|
|1 yr||1 yr||PHI||16||10||2||0||0||0||9.0||34||25||9||15||30|
Naturally, the speculation now turns to impending free agent, Trey Flowers. The Patriots declined to place the franchise tag on Flowers who led the team with 7.5 sacks last season. However, that does not necessarily close the door on the return to the Patriots. Just recently, Flowers commented on winning “number seven” for the Patriots organization which seems to indicate his desire to return. With that said, Flowers will not be short of suitors and another team could price the Patriots out of the mix. The trade for Bennett could potentially soften that blow. Ideally, Bennett becomes a replacement for Adrian Clayborn and not Flowers.
Michael’s brother Martellus spent parts of two seasons with the Patriots. He won a Super Bowl in his lone full season with the team in 2016. But, he retired following the 2018 season in which he spent just a handful of games with the team after starting the season with the Packers. Speculation has already begun that the retired Bennett could un-retire to join his brother. Speculation that, according to some, actually has some legs.
From a football standpoint, it would fill the void that was left after the team released Dwayne Allen. Rob Gronkowski has yet to make his intentions known about playing next season, however, it would be more shocking at this point if he retired given what he has done and said so far this offseason. So a reunion with the offensive Bennett would make sense. And, of course, it would give Bennett siblings a chance to play together. Something afforded to the McCourty, Hollister, and occasionally the Gronkowski brothers.