The New England Patriots stayed busy Wednesday, one day after trading away defensive end Chandler Jones and signing defensive end Chris Long. The team pulled off two more deals, the first one netting veteran tight end Martellus Bennett from the Chicago Bears. Then later in the evening, they reportedly signed linebacker Shea McClellin, also late of the Bears, to a three-year contract, as per ESPN.
The Patriots will reportedly send a fourth-round draft pick to the Bears for Bennett and a sixth-rounder. The move gives New England another dangerous tight end to pair with Rob Gronkowski, conjuring the latter’s fruitful on-field partnership with Aaron Hernandez.
Bennett has 348 catches for 3,586 yards and 23 touchdowns since the Dallas Cowboys made him a second-round pick in the 2008 draft. He spent the 2012 season with the New York Giants before playing the past three with the Bears.
Bennett reportedly was at odds with first-year Bears Coach John Fox last season, and the team had been shopping him around. The 29-year-old tight end may have made a good impression on the Patriots in a 2014 game in which he had 6 catches for 95 yards and a score against Bill Belichick’s team.
What are the @Patriots getting in Martellus Bennett?
A TE who makes insane TD grabs while falling down. WOW! https://t.co/xtaBD5OwkT
— NFL (@NFL) March 16, 2016
Bennett is known for being somewhat moody and quite outspoken, which may not fit well into the culture Belichick has long since established. On the other hand, the team clearly allows Gronkowski to play the role of party-animal to the hilt, so Bennett may also be given leeway — if he produces in games.
Martellus deal is pure Belichick. Banking on NE culture/Brady to bring out best in a mercurial personality. Low risk/potentially high reward
— Dan Pompei (@danpompei) March 16, 2016
The departure of Bennett likely opens up more playing time for Bears tight end Zach Miller, who returned to the team Monday after testing the free-agent waters. In 2015, the 31-year-old Miller reached career highs with 34 catches, 439 yards and a team-leading five touchdowns.