By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The New England Patriots did not stay out of a Friday full of rumors and roster moves around the NFL, as the team acquired defensive end Michael Bennett (and a 2020 seventh-round pick) from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round draft pick.
A 33-year-old pass rusher, Bennett comes to the Patriots after just one season with the Eagles, with 34 total tackles and nine sacks in 16 games, and seven total tackles and one sack in two playoff games for Philadelphia. The 6-foot-4 Bennett also arrives to New England signed through the 2020 season.
But here’s what else we know about Bennett — on and off the field — as he makes his way to the Patriots…
Even at 33, Bennett remains productive threat on defensive line
With 41 tackles and 10 sacks in 18 total games last season, Bennett’s still got it.
In fact, he’s been among the league’s most consistent threats as an edge rusher. Only Von Miller and Khalil Mack have more pressures than Bennett since the start of the 2014 season and has a pass-rusher grade of at least 70 in six of his 10 seasons, per Pro Football Focus. Per PFF, Bennett recorded 78 total quarterback pressures as an Eagle last season, tying him with the Texans’ J.J. Watt and New England’s Trey Flowers for the third-most among NFL edge defenders.
He would like a raise from his current salary
With that production still there, and with future paydays dwindling given his age, it’s no surprise that Bennett has been vocal about wanting a raise before the start of the 2019 season.
“I’m not willing to take a pay cut; I actually want a pay raise,” Bennett, then still a member of the Eagles, said during an appearance on The NFL Network on Friday morning. “Whatever team I go to, I want to get paid more than I do now.”
Bennett is due $7.2 million this upcoming season.
His legal matters remain unresolved
Like Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Bennett has some unsettled legal matters and hanging over his head.
In an attempt to gain access to the field in Super Bowl LI — Bennett’s younger brother, Martellus, was playing for the Patriots in that game — Bennett allegedly injured a 66-year-old paraplegic woman who was working at NRG Stadium.
It reportedly led to a sprained shoulder for the woman, and saw Bennett charged with injury of the elderly.
But the court dates have been postponed again and again and again now, leaving all parties involved in limbo. It’s a felony charge, though, and it’s pretty clear that Houston authorities have no intentions of backing off.
“It’s pretty pathetic that you’d put your hands on a 66-year-old paraplegic and treat them like they don’t exist,” Houston’s police chief said in a Mar. 2018 press conference. The chief, Art Acevedo, also called Bennett “morally bankrupt.”
Barring yet another postponement (which would be the eighth), Bennett is scheduled to appear in court on Mar. 27.
Bennett once called current Pats defensive coordinator Greg Schiano ‘a stiff’
A Buccaneer for the first four years of his NFL career, it was during Bennett’s final year in Tampa Bay that he played for then-first-year NFL head coach Greg Schiano. The Bucs finished last in the NFC South that season, and Bennett absolutely did not care for Schiano’s style, later calling a Schiano a ‘stiff’ that wasn’t fun to play for as a player.
The problem, of course, is that Schiano is New England’s new defensive coordinator.
"You seem like a guy who couldn't play for a stiff..." - Radio guy in Portland, Oregon.— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 8, 2019
Michael Bennett: "I did that before. It wasn't fun. His name is Greg Schiano." #Patriots
Of course, this could mean very little in the grand scheme of things, as Bill Belichick has taken on a more hands-on approach with his defense in recent seasons, and that will likely remain the case with a first-year coordinator like Schiano in the picture.
It may mean absolutely nothing in regards to Trey Flowers
Naturally, people were quick to point to the Bennett trade and say that this spells the end of Trey Flowers The Patriot.
Well, that could hold some weight (especially if Bennett gets that raise he wants), but have we considered that maybe Bennett is here to replace Adrian Clayborn? The veteran Clayborn, who at times was a healthy scratch for the Patriots this season, finished his first year in New England with nine tackles and 2.5 sacks in 14 games. Clayborn had a solid Super Bowl showing, with two tackles and a sack, but releasing him could create almost $4 million in cap space that the Pats could certainly use.
It obviously wouldn’t be enough to re-sign Flowers, but it’s a definite starting point.