Rapoport noted the Patriots have to pay Bennett a $2 million bonus if he's still on the roster March 14. The former Pro Bowler landed in New England midway through the season after being cut by the Green Bay Packers but was limited to two games in Foxborough due to injury.
"After conversations with my family, I'm pretty sure these next eight games will be the conclusion of my NFL career," Bennett wrote in an Instagram story in October. "To everyone that has poured themselves and time into my life and career. These next games are for you. Thank you."
Bennett, 30, struggled to make an impact in his seven-game stint with the Packers, recording 24 receptions for 233 yards without a touchdown. A shoulder injury hampered him throughout the season and was known when the Patriots claimed him off waivers.
New England would save $6.19 million on its 2018 cap by cutting Bennett loose. He signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Packers last offseason after a strong 2016 season in New England. With Rob Gronkowski out for half the season due to injury, Bennett recorded 55 receptions for 701 yards and seven scores.
The Patriots went on to win a Super Bowl, Bennett's first title.
The outspoken tight end has a number of outside ventures, particularly in the entertainment world, so it wouldn't be much of a shock to see him retire. But if he does plan to return next season, the ball is in the Patriots' court to see whether it's in New England or elsewhere.