Packers Sign TE Martellus Bennett
In a stunning turn of events, the Packers have signed tight end Martellus Bennett, making an enormous splash on the second day of free agency.
Bennett himself announced the deal on Instagram.
Bennett and the Packers agreed to a three-year contract. ESPN's Rob Demovsky reported the value of the deal at $18 million, while NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported it as a $21 million contract. As it stands today, he will enter the 2017 season somewhere between the 12th and 16th highest paid tight end.
What do we know about Bennett?
A second round pick in 2008, Bennett was considered the top tight end available in free agency. He caught 55 passes for 701 yards and seven touchdowns in his lone season in New England, previously lining up for the Chicago Bears, the New York Giants, and the Dallas Cowboys.
He was the tenth rated tight end in the NFL last season, according to Pro Football Focus, one spot ahead of Jared Cook.
Bennett is virtually the prototypical “big target” tight end favored by head coach Mike McCarthy. Standing an incredible 6-7 and weighing 248 pounds, Bennett is truly an enormous target. He’s reasonably fast, too: at the NFL Combine in 2008, he ran a very respectable 4.68 40-yard dash.
He couples that size with great leaping ability: though a 34-inch vertical leap won’t blow anyone away, coupled with his massive frame, he’s more than capable of out leaping smaller defenders.
How will Martellus Bennett fit with the Packers?
While it’s true that Jared Cook was a very valuable piece of the Packers’ offense, his stats were more or less in line with his career averages. If the same is true for Bennett, the Packers just scored big.
Bennett may not be quite the same field stretcher that Cook was, but it may not matter. He’ll likely be used in a very similar way.
Tight ends are almost always assumed to be red zone threats, but it’s actually the truth with Bennett. 23 of his 30 career touchdowns have come in the red zone, including 16 from within 9 yards of the goal line.
Finally, there’s his ability to run after the catch. While it’s not a primary part of his game, he’s dangerous with the ball in his hands.
The Packers needed to keep their supply of playmakers populated, and they got a good one today.