Martellus Bennett is having himself an eventful 30th birthday.
The free-agent tight end agreed to a new contract with the Packers on Friday, announcing his decision via Instagram. Earlier in the week, Bennett acknowledged on his social-media accounts that he would not be returning to New England after spending one season with the Patriots.
The one-year marriage between Bennett and Bill Belichick's club would certainly qualify as a win-win for both sides.
Bennett, who arrived to the Patriots via trade last offseason, was able to increase his value after a rocky 2015 in Chicago. He displayed his versatile skill set in New England's offense, being used at times as a forceful blocker in the running game and at times as a dependable target in the passing game. He played all 16 regular-season games through a variety of injuries and finished the year with 55 catches for 701 yards and seven scores.
The Patriots, meanwhile, picked up a valuable insurance policy for Rob Gronkowski when they acquired Bennett. Even before Gronkowski landed on injured reserve with a back injury, Bennett was used extensively. After the fact, Bennett was leaned upon even more heavily as the lone tight end on the roster with NFL game experience.
By agreeing to terms with the Packers, Bennett goes from working alongside one MVP-caliber quarterback in Tom Brady to another in Aaron Rodgers. Makes sense that he was anxious to let the world know about his next stop in his career.
This is Bennett's fourth team since being drafted in the second round in 2008 by the Cowboys. He also spent one season with the Giants in 2012.
In an interview with The Big Lead, Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long spoke on the drama surrounding Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
It's safe to say he doesn't put much stock into it.
I just think any NFL team, any NFL locker room under a lot of stress over a year period, there are going to be storylines people can choose to kind of blow out of proportion or not pay attention to. I think everyone’s going to pay attention to sometimes really small issues. Whatever people are alluding to going on up there hasn’t affected their play, it hasn’t affected their bottom line. It hasn’t affected how they executed on Sundays.
Long played with the Patriots during the 2016 season and won Super Bowl 51 with them before signing a two-year contract with the Eagles. The Eagles then went on to beat New England in Super Bowl 52. If anyone outside of the Patriots' locker room has an idea of the culture inside the past two years, Long has to be one of them.
It took everything for us to beat them. It took a heroic performance by Nick Foles and we had to play our best game. So while everybody likes to always point to the Patriots as being under duress or there’s some drama in the locker room, there’s drama in every locker room that you could blow out of proportion. They’re just on top and those stories sell because they’ve been so great.
ESPN's Seth Wickersham released a story detailing some of the issues that arose in New England over the past few years in January, and with Brady missing almost all of the Patriots' voluntary workouts last month, some have started to wonder whether this is the end for one of both of Brady-Belichick.
While their hasn't been much public acknowledgement from either side about the drama, but Long certainly doesn't see much substance to the noise.
Tony Romo's Super Bowl prediction of the Jacksonville Jaguars taking over the AFC title from the Patriots and facing the Green Bay Packers in Atlanta in SB53 drew a response from Tom Brady on Instagram.
The NFL's official Instagram account posted a photo of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Jags cornerback Jalen Ramsey with the prediction of Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys QB now the analyst on CBS' No. 1 NFL broadcast team. Here's a screenshot, complete with Brady's comment:
Appearing on the NFL Network earlier this week, Romo said rumors of a rift between Brady and coach Bill Belichick are overblown. “I think they probably squabble just like any married couple for 20 years, and then they also love each other.
“I just think when you work together for 15 to 20 years, whatever it is, I think that whenever you have the success that they have, people have to come up with stuff,” Romo said. “I also think that I’ve been upset with my coaches before, and then you come back and you’re fine. And then you get upset with them, and you come back and you’re fine. It’s a part of sports.”
Brady and the Patriots report to camp on July 26.