A sad day in Eagles history might become the catalyst for a joyful reunion between two brothers.
Following the release of Brent Celek (see story) and the impending departure of free agent Trey Burton (see story), the Eagles could potentially attempt to fill the void at tight end with Martellus Bennett.
Cut by the Patriots last week, Bennett is rumored to be interested in playing on the same team as sibling Michael Bennett, according to ESPN's Kirk Morrison. The Eagles acquired Michael in a trade with the Seahawks on March 7, with Martellus' release coming hours later.
Coincidence? Maybe not.
The Patriots reportedly made a trade offer for Michael Bennett as well, releasing Martellus only once the attempt fell through. It’s possible one or both of them were vocal about playing together.
The Eagles were certainly aware of their looming hole at tight end at the time of the trade. Celek had one year remaining on his contract but wasn’t expected back at the scheduled $5 million against the salary cap. With the club’s cap issues and a rabid market awaiting, retaining a younger, talented commodity like Burton was even less likely.
Zach Ertz remains the starting tight end after a Pro Bowl season, while Billy Brown will be a prospect to watch at training camp this summer. The Eagles could still use proven depth.
Bennett is an attractive option ... if the price is right. A Pro Bowler as recently as 2014, the 10-year veteran is a willing blocker with 433 career receptions for 4,573 yards and 30 touchdowns. Whereas Celek was used primarily as a blocker, and Burton was more often deployed as a receiver, Bennett possesses the versatility to fill both roles.
The Eagles must first do their due diligence on Bennett’s bizarre 2017 campaign.
Bennett was waived by the Packers in November for his supposed failure to disclose an injury. The 31-year-old was claimed by the Patriots the next day, appeared in two more games, then landed on injured reserve with shoulder and hamstring injuries.
Finishing with 30 receptions for 286 yards and zero touchdowns in nine games, it was Bennett’s worst season since becoming a starter in 2012.
A second-round draft pick by the Cowboys in 2008, Bennett also played for the Giants and Bears. He last played with his brother all the way back when they attended Texas A&M.
Though the Bennetts have not played on the same team in nearly a decade, the duo has joined forces for some notable interviews in the recent past and clearly have a strong relationship.
The Eagles aren’t going to sign Martellus simply because he has a bond with Michael. There is a need, however, so exploring the reunion even as a sign of good faith makes sense.