Ted is up to his usual shenanigans. After nearly two full days of Green Bay Packers fans going a little stir crazy watching Micah Hyde, and JC Tretter get opportunities elsewhere. Rumors flew from insiders across the league that TJ Lang and Eddie Lacy were meeting with the likes of Seattle, Detroit, and (puke) Minnesota, and we woke up Friday to reports that talks between the Packers and tight end Jared Cook were cut off. I know myself and many of my fellow Packer fans were wondering to ourselves, “what in the actual hell is going on?”
Well, amidst all of my doubt, panic, and to be honest, a relentless two day rant on how Ted should have retired. BOOM, I got slapped with this. A complete blind sided, bone jarring feeling of relief.
Former Patriots TE Martellus Bennett is signing with the Packers, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2017
At 30 years old, the former first-round pick of the Cowboys back in 2008, spent four years in Dallas before joining the Giants as a free agent for one season. The Bears then signed him to a four year deal only to trade him to the Patriots for the final year of that contract in return for a fourth-round pick.
Bennett just finished the final year of that four-year, $20.4 million contract that included $5.215 million guaranteed and made a base salary of $5.085 million for the 2016 season. He appeared in all 16 games for the Patriots and caught 55 passes for 701 yards receiving and seven touchdowns.
Ted Thompson usually doesn’t target notable free agents, especially when it could impact future compensatory picks. He tends to wait until the first couple waves of free agency are over and he can search through the bargain bin. However, he must have determined that it was better to pay Bennett a solid contract, than commit to Jared Cook for multiple years.
Per an unnamed source at profootballtalk.com, Bennett got a $6.3 million signing bonus. He’ll also receive a $900,000 base salary for 2017, a $3.6 million base salary for 2018, and a $5.65 million base salary for 2019. The deal also has a $2 million roster bonus due on the first day of the 2018 league year, along with $600,000 per year in per-game roster bonuses and $250,000 in annual workout bonuses. According to reports, his cap hits will be $3.85M, $8.55, and $8.6M. A serious bargain given his career production.
That works out to $21 million over three years. It’s also worth $8.05 million in 2017 with an early decision due in 2018 as to whether the Packers will continue for another year.
While Cook seemed to help the offense stretch the middle of the field last season, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers made it clear at the end of last season he wanted Cook back in Green Bay. Rodgers seems to have no issue with Cooks new replacement. Shortly after the news broke Rodgers took to twitter to calm Packers fans nerves a bit, letting us know he is more than happy with Bennett in the green and gold. If Rodgers is happy, so am I!
— Aaron Rodgers (@AaronRodgers12) March 10, 2017
It should be noted by those who may still have some skepticism about Bennett and the headache he could be at times. He has posted 50-plus receptions in each of the last five seasons, one of only three tight ends in the league (Greg Olsen, Jason Witten) to do so over that span. Among active tight ends, he ranks No. 4 in receptions (318), No. 6 in receiving yards (3,441) and tied for No. 6 in TD catches (26) since 2012. These numbers suggest that his production on the field well outweighs the headaches off.
Ted has me excited for the next few weeks ahead of the draft. This unexpected splash in free agency has me with high hopes. Could there be more surprises in the near future? It is my belief that they still need to add a few more pieces prior to the draft to be a top contender. Amidst all the negativity towards Ted Thompson over the last six off-seasons, I am encouraged to think Ted will continue his Ted like shenanigans and it will all work out. Go get get that defense Ted. Go Pack Go!