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Patriots could consider franchise tag for Martellus Bennett

Patriots could consider franchise tag for Martellus Bennett
Published On: Thu, Feb 16
Sep 27, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72, left) and Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) take off their jerseys following a 26-0 Seattle victory at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots have a number of decisions to make regarding big-name free agents this offseason, and tight end Martellus Bennett is among them. Bennett, who will turn 30 in March, is likely looking at his last chance to sign a lucrative long-term extension. Will the Patriots force him to delay that by using the franchise tag?

Phil Perry of CSNNE.com speculates that Bennett will be seeking a contract similar to the one Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen signed when he turned 30 two offseasons ago, which was a three-year, $22.5 million deal with $12 million guaranteed. Since the Patriots already have Rob Gronkowski on the books for the next three seasons with cap hits that average around $10 million per season, theyre unlikely to spend that much money on one position.

But would they do it for one season?

According to Albert Breer of The MMQB, the franchise tag figure for tight ends in 2017 is projected to be $9.84 million. Assuming the Patriots dont use the tag on linebacker Donta Hightower, they may decide to lock Bennett up for another season as Gronkowski insurance so they can see how Gronks latest back injury plays out.

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Name Pos
Julian Edelman WR
Rob Gronkowski TE
Rob Ninkovich DE
Tom Brady QB
Stephen Gostkowski PK
Chris Long DE
Devin McCourty DB
Jabaal Sheard DL
Martellus Bennett TE
LeGarrette Blount RB
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