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Patriots TE Martellus Bennett expected to test free agency

New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett had a heck of a 2016 season. He recorded 55 receptions for 701 yards and seven touchdowns.

It was a huge boost for New England after the team acquired Bennett from the Chicago Bears last offseason. It also came at a time when the eventual Super Bowl champs needed someone to step up in Rob Gronkowski’s stead.

Now set to become a free agent, Bennett is looking to cash in. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the tight end is expected to test free agency next month.

https://mobile.twitter.com/RapSheet/status/834194620674371585

This seems to be a sign that the two sides won’t be able to come to terms on a new contract before free agency itself starts. It also comes after Bennett himself seemed to suggest that remaining in New England over the long term might be best for his career (more on that here).

Bennett, 29, should be in line for a raise from the $5.2 million he earned this past season. With the Pats set to pay Gronkowski $6.8 million in 2017, it seems logical that the team might simply let Bennett walk.