If the New England Patriots want to bring TE Martellus Bennett back into the fold for 2017 and beyond, they’ll have a willing party at the negotiating table.
“I love it here,” Bennett said on Thursday. “We’ll figure it out when it’s time to figure it out, but my family loves it here, I love being a part of this team, this organization and this city. When it comes around, it comes around.”
The Patriots reportedly had tried to extend Bennett by one season after acquiring him in March, and Bennett had reportedly turned down an offer for an extension worth $7 million per season. Bennett wanted to make sure he was a fit with the Patriots before locking himself in long term- and it’s clear that he believes the Patriots are a fit.
“[The Patriots] win a lot of games,” Bennett said. “I hadn’t really won that many games in my career. I’ve been able to do a lot of individual things as far as numbers go, but individual goals aren’t really important. This is a lot more fun than catching 90 balls and losing 10 games.”
“I just crave the big game moments and playing in games that matter,” Bennett added. “A lot of times, you don’t really get to do things that matter and I have a chance to do that right now.”
Bennett will have a large role with the Patriots this offseason as one of the cornerstones of the offense. Since TE Rob Gronkowski is sidelined with a back injury, Bennett’s more valuable than ever and there’s a sense that the Patriots have been holding Bennett back down the final stretch to avoid injury.
The Patriots would love to have Bennett back and the $7 million per year price tag is still a fair value for both sides (14th highest paid tight end). Maybe 2017 is the year we finally see both Bennett and Gronkowski on the field for a considerable amount of time.