Martellus Bennett, Raiders Reportedly Have Mutual Interest in Contract

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2017

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 20:  Martellus Bennett #88 of the New England Patriots in action against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Free agent tight end Martellus Bennett and the Oakland Raiders have "shown heavy mutual interest in one another," according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.

Bennett, 29, was excellent for the New England Patriots in 2016, catching 55 passes for 701 yards and seven touchdowns. He became the team's top option at tight end after Rob Gronkowski was lost for the season due to injury.

But the Patriots traded a fourth-round pick to the Indianapolis Colts for tight end Dwayne Allen and a sixth-round pick, per Mike Reiss of ESPN, making Bennett expendable in the process.

Certainly, Allen was cheaper than using the franchise tag on Bennett, as Albert Breer of NFL.com noted: 

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Here's a fun fact: Dwayne Allen will cost Patriots $10 million the next 2 years; Would've cost $9.78 million to franchise Martellus Bennett.

In Oakland, however, Bennett would be the No. 1 tight end and give Derek Carr a slew of weapons in the passing game. The trio of Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree and Bennett would be one of the better receiving groups in the NFL and upgrade an already excellent offense.

In 2016, Oakland finished sixth in yards per game (373.3) and seventh in points per contest (26.0). Upgrading the passing game with Bennett—who is also a capable blocker in the run game—would make them all the more dangerous.

The Raiders are one of the top up-and-coming teams in the NFL, with star power on both sides of the ball and one of the most prolific offenses in football. Bennett is the sort of veteran addition that makes a ton of sense as the team looks to become a true Super Bowl contender over the next several years.

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