Martellus Bennett signed a three-year, $21 million contract this offseason with the Green Bay Packers, which included a $6.3 million signing bonus. But after cutting Bennett this past week, the Packers reportedly intend to file a grievance seeking repayment of that signing bonus, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.
Per that report, "Rules allow a team to battle for the signing bonus if a player had a pre-existing condition before a signing, assuming the club did not know about it." Bennett was reportedly diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff and labrum damage, though the Packers would need to prove that Bennett had the injury before he signed with the team and didn't disclose it to the Packers to recoup his signing bonus.
In a series of Instagram posts, Bennett claimed that the Packers examined his shoulder on March 10 and medically cleared it. He said he injured the shoulder playing for the Packers and brought up the injury during the season but said that team doctor Pat McKenzie encouraged him to play through it.
When Bennett elected to have surgery following counsel from several other doctors, the Packers released him.
You can see the full transcript of Bennett's comments, via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:
"They panicked," Bennett wrote. "Thinking that I was trying to go on [injured reserve] and be on their books next year. When I mentioned that I would possibly retire. So they tried to f--k me before they thought I would f--k them. This was all about money."
Head coach Mike McCarthy spoke to the media Friday, per Doug Kyed of NESN, after Bennett was claimed by the New England Patriots:
"I’m not going to get into the Patriots claiming Marty, I’ll just reiterate what I said yesterday: I just know what the facts are and how the timeline came about. I talked to him Tuesday (following the bye week) after practice and he (had) a shoulder concern injury. I advised him to get the second opinions. He did that and he went to a number of them. The last medical conversation I was involved with in regards to Marty, they were talking about scheduling surgery. After that, then you have the termination and then the claim. I really don’t have any comments on that. I’ve answered the question for the last time, respectfully."
The situation took another interesting turn Friday when Bennett was a partial participant in practice for the Patriots and listed as questionable to play Sunday. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk noted, "Green Bay’s entire argument has been undermined by the fact that Bennett has passed another physical and could be playing for the Patriots on Sunday night."