When news broke that the Chicago Bears had traded tight end Martellus Bennett to the New England Patriots, it came as a shock to many. However, Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune released a report Thursday night that indicates the Bears were glad to have found a trade partner for a player they had “pervasive doubts” about.
The terms of the deal, per Tom Curran of CSN New England, demonstrate just how eager Chicago was to unload Bennett. The Patriots will send a fourth-round pick to the Bears, and they will receive Bennett and a sixth-round pick in return.
While nobody would compare Bennett to Rob Gronkowski or pre-Seattle Seahawks Jimmy Graham, he has been one of the more productive receiving tight ends in the NFL the past four years.
Since 2012, he’s averaging 70 catches, 685 yards and 5 touchdowns per season, and one can only imagine his production will baloon playing with Gronkowski in New England catching balls from Tom Brady.
Yet the Bears essentially swapped a sixth for a fourth round pick to get rid of him.
You don’t do that unless you really want to wash your hands of a guy and get something in return, regardless of the true value of the deal.
According to Wiederer, that’s what was happening in Chicago. The Bears likely wish things had worked out with Bennett, but they had to part ways with a player who was so bitter about not playing during Week 12 — the biggest game of the year for the Bears — that he didn’t watch it from home.
Instead, Bennett could hear his wife cheering Chicago’s 17-13 win over the hated Green Bay Packers while he sulked.
“Yeah, It’s hard to watch the games when you’re not playing in them,” Bennett explained, via Wiederer.
Bennett said his wife had watched and he heard her “jumping up and down and screaming.” But he insisted his own interest was minimal.
“I felt like I was watching it because you could hear it all through the house,” he said. “She texted me everything that was happening.”
This knowledge, along with a reported outburst during a Thanksgiving week practice and vocal frustration by Bennett about how he was being utilized, made it clear to John Fox and his coaching staff that Bennett wasn’t buying into the “we not me” coaching strategy they were trying to implement.
Bennett was apparently viewed as quite mercurial, and his antics last year “elevated tensions” in Chicago’s locker room.
That Bennett is talented is unquestionably true. The Patriots might just have their best tight end duo since Aaron Hernandez and Gronkowski combined to catch 169 passes for 2,237 yards and 24 touchdowns. And, if any locker room is equipped to handle any particular mood swings or me-first attitude Bennett could potentially present, it’s the one led by Brady — company man extraordinaire.
However, that the Bears were able to get so little for a player of such potential speaks to just how dysfunctional the relationship was between Bennett and the organization.