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To sign with the Patriots, Martellus Bennett beat the system and got what he wanted

To sign with the Patriots, Martellus Bennett beat the system and got what he wanted
Published On: Tue, Nov 14
Sep 10, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) talks to his brother, Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett (80), after the game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The typical NFL player will never decide anything about his employment, unless he wants to quit the league altogether. An average NFL career lasts shorter than a rookie contract, and for the vast swath of players who are not Kirk Cousins, NFL teams use the enticement of security and a slight raise to sign players to extensions before their rookie contract is up. Most players are either bound to a team until that team is through with them, or otherwise financially incentivized to stay with that team as long as the team wishes. There is free agency for players in the NFL, but by and large, teams control player movement.

Many in the NFL reacted to the unusual case of Martellus Bennett with a raised eyebrow, directed at both Bennett and his new/old team, the New England Patriots. Bennett signed with the Green Bay Packers this offseason, and he played for them for nine unhappy and unproductive weeks before he told them he wanted to have shoulder surgery, which led the Packers to release him.

Only Bennett never had that surgery. He instead signed with the Patriots, with whom he won a Super Bowl last season, and suddenly materialized Sunday night. He provided a familiar option for Tom Brady and a complement to Rob Gronkowski, catching three passes for 38 yards. I love having Martellus on our team, Brady said.

In Bennetts telling, his move to the Patriots happened on a lark, through a series of unintended coincidences. After the Packers waived him, Bennett told his agent to let teams know he intended to have surgery and retire, so dont bother claiming him. Except that Coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots claimed him, anyway, after Bennett fell to them in the claiming order because other teams believed he was not playing.

When Bill called after they claimed me, I was [forget] it, and then he was like Whats going on? Bennett told reports, per the Patriots official website. I told him, and then we had a quick conversation, and then I told him Ill think about it and Ill call you back. Even then it wasnt just Hey, you want to come play? It was, let me just call you back in a few minutes and let me think about it and regroup because I dont even know if I went through the seven stages of grief yet, Im probably on step three, but I think the group of guys on this team couldnt be a better place for me in what Im going through right now and my situation. It couldnt have been a better place, all of the familiar faces and things like that and its good to have those guys around.

In Bennetts telling, he decided on a whim to postpone the shoulder surgery and continue his career. In the views of many within the league, he orchestrated both his exit from Green Bay, where Aaron Rodgers had been injured and he wasnt catching many passes, and his arrival in New England. In effect, the Patriots acquired Bennett in a trade after the trade deadline, without having to give anything away.

Read the complete news article here...


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