It became pretty clear earlier on Friday that the Philadelphia Eagles were going to move on from three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Bennett.
The veteran noted that he was not willing to take a pay cut and actually wanted a raise from the $6.2 million base salary he’s set to earn next season.
It wasn’t a surprise that Philadelphia ultimately traded Bennett to the defending champion New England Patriots on Friday. Instead, it’s the compensation New England gave the Eagles that’s a shocker here.
According to multiple media reports, the Patriots are giving Philadelphia a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2020 and Bennett.
If the Michael Bennett-to-New-England trade is finalized – and it is expected to be – Patriots and Eagles will swap 5th- and 7th-round picks in the 2020 draft, per a league source.
Eagles get a 5th; Pats get Bennett and a 7th.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 8, 2019
This is the equivalent of Philadelphia pretty much giving Bennett away in order to avoid paying him $7.2 million against the cap next season.
Given that Bennett put up a otherworldly 30 quarterback hits and nine sacks for the Eagles last season, this is a small price for New England to pay. Sure the Eagles want to give former first-round pick Derek Barnett more playing time. But as playoff contenders, they are going with the unknown over the known.
Bennett produced more last season than Barnett has over the first two years of his NFL career combined.
Even after locking up Brandon Graham on a long-term deal general manager Howie Roseman and Co. could have found a way to retain Bennett. Instead, the team sent him off to the defending champs for pretty much nothing.
From a Patriots perspective, this is the quintessential Bill Belichick trade. New England was slated to lose leading sack-getter Trey Flowers in free agency.
The youngster is likely going to earn north of $15 million annually in free agency. Even that’s a low-ball estimate.
New England finds Flowers’ replacement for less than half the price while keeping its 2019 NFL Draft picks unchanged. Heck, they’ll now likely get a third-round compensation pick back for Flowers during the 2020 NFL Draft.
At some point, teams simply need to ignore Belichick when he comes calling about a trade. It rarely works out for his opposition. Evil genius, indeed.