The New England Patriots and Chicago Bears agreed to terms Wednesday on a trade that will send tight end Martellus Bennett to the defending AFC East champions in exchange for draft-pick compensation, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport confirmed the news while CSN New England's Tom E. Curran reported the Patriots will ship a fourth-round pick to the Bears and receive a sixth-round pick in return. Curran also noted that other late-round compensation is "still being worked out."
Bennett took to Instagram to comment on the move:
"Just try to go where the wind blows," Bennett told reporters on Thursday regarding the deal. "Be a dandelion."
Bennett, who is entering the final year of his contract, will carry a $5.185 million cap hit and leave $1.125 million worth of dead money on the Bears' books, per Spotrac on Twitter.
Bennett was limited to 11 appearances last season because of injuries, and his numbers understandably took a dip as a result.
On Thursday, Bennett spoke about his health, telling reporters: "I'm healthy. I prefer my ribs barbecued."
However, Bennett's first two seasons in the Windy City pointed to the kind of weapon he can be if featured properly. As NFL.com's Chris Wesseling noted, Bennett posted numbers in 2014 that placed him in the Pro Bowl:
Marty B not yet 30 y/o. Just one year removed from a 90/916/6 season with Cutler. Belichick bargain shopping. https://t.co/GSgFVexmQW— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) March 16, 2016
From a more macro perspective, Schefter explained that the Patriots are sitting pretty after adding another wrinkle to a passing attack already heralded as one of the NFL's most dangerous:
Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski now expected to give Patriots the double-TE threat they have lacked.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2016
Wesseling echoed Schefter by rattling off some of the other versatile pass-catchers quarterback Tom Brady will have at his disposal:
Brady throwing to Gronk, Edelman and Marty B in the red zone? Yikes.— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) March 16, 2016
Considering defenses are already consumed by the task of trying to stop tight end Rob Gronkowski in the red zone, adding a 6'7", 248-pound mammoth target like Bennett to the equation could make the Patriots a matchup nightmare.
With Bennett, Gronkowski and Julian Edelman all capable of lining up in the slot or on the outside, the Patriots should have the luxury of mixing and matching personnel and throwing out unique looks to keep defenses off balance.
So while a bounce-back season may not be in order for Bennett from a raw statistical perspective, he should be a key component of how the Patriots scheme to score when they get deep inside enemy territory.