Patriots release TE Martellus Bennett

The New England Patriots announced that they have released TE Martellus Bennett

Bennett, 31, was claimed off waivers and awarded to New England from Green Bay on Nov. 9, 2017, after being released on November 8 from the Packers. He played in seven games and finished with 24 receptions for 233 yards for the Packers. The 6-foot-6, 275-pounder played in two games as a reserve for the Patriots in 2017 and caught six passes for 53 yards. Bennett has played in 144 games with 107 starts and has registered 433 receptions for 4,573 yards with 30 touchdowns in 10 seasons. He has also appeared in five postseason contests with four starts and compiled 14 receptions for 125 yards.

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Bennett spent the 2016 season with New England after being acquired in a trade with Chicago in exchange for a 2016 fourth round draft pick on March 17, 2016. In 2016 with the Patriots, he played in all 16 games with 12 starts and finished with 55 receptions for 701 yards with seven touchdowns in the regular season. He also started all three postseason games, including Super Bowl LI, and added 11 receptions for 98 yards.

Coincidentally, Bennett’s release came just a couple of hours after news broke that his older brother, defensive end Michael Bennett, had been traded from the Seahawks to the Eagles.

Bennett had openly contemplated retirement last season, but a report surfaced last week which said he wanted to continue his playing career.

The release of Bennett may signal that the Patriots believe that Rob Gronkowski — who’s also been publicly contemplating retirement — will return next season. The Patriots currently have Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen, and Jacob Hollister on the tight end depth chart.

Bennett, who turns 31 years old this week, was due a $2 million roster bonus on March 14, so a decision had to be made before then. He was also due to count for more than $6 million against the salary cap.

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