Martellus Bennett showed the Patriots his incredible talent in 2014 when he made a diving grab in the end zone for a touchdown at Gillette Stadium. But Bennett joins the Patriots with baggage.
The Bears traded Bennett after he grew discontented with his limited role on offense. He has a history of disagreeable behavior, and the Patriots will be Bennett’s fourth team in his eight-year career.
Still, New England inherits Bennett in the final year of his contract, and he should be highly motivated to prove to the Patriots — and the other 31 NFL teams — that he deserves a big deal in 2017 free agency. The Patriots appear to have taken a risk on the 29-year-old with hopes that he and Rob Gronkowski can combine to be the most talented and productive tight-end tandem in the league.
Here are five things to know about Bennett.
- Prolific career: Bennett has 348 catches for 3,586 yards and 23 touchdowns in his career. In 2014, Bennett had the third most receiving yards among tight ends behind Greg Olsen and Gronkowski.
- Fearsome tandem: When Bills coach Rex Ryan was asked how he would defend Gronk and Bennett, Ryan said: “I have no idea. I just think it’s unusual to have two guys that are like 6-[foot]-7 and can run, catch, block. So, yeah, it’s going to be a major challenge. There’s no doubt about that. It’s scary when you look at them. Those are two huge guys. How we’re going to defend them, I don’t know.”
- Character concerns: NFL Media’s Albert Breer, who covered Bennett while he was on the Cowboys, says the tight end is “high-maintenance.” The Bears suspended Bennett indefinitely for slamming teammate Kyle Fuller to the ground during practice in 2014. Bennett’s presence in the Patriots’ locker room will be worth monitoring.
- Social media: The tight end’s Twitter account is @MartysaurusRex. His Instagram account is @martellusb.
- Family: His daughter, Jett, who made a cameo in Bennett’s viral Instagram post on April 3, is adorable.