New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett has been playing with a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports.
New England claimed Bennett off waivers on Thursday, one day after he was waived by the Green Bay Packers with the designation that he failed to disclose a physical condition.
According to Rapoport, Bennett may try to play through the injury, but if he can’t, the Patriots could just put him on Injured Reserve, which would be no risk for them.
During the Packers’ bye week, Bennett said on social media that he was “pretty sure” he would retire after this season, then was sidelined with a shoulder injury.
Bennett took part in one practice after the bye week and appeared on the injury report the next day because of his shoulder. That’s the injury the Packers contend that Bennett failed to disclose.
The Patriots didn’t re-sign Bennett as a free agent in the offseason, electing instead to acquire tight end Dwayne Allen in trade with the Indianapolis Colts. Allen, however, has not lived up to expectations, as he’s only recorded one catch in eight games this season, which has, in part, led to the Patriots’ offense struggling in the red zone.
Bennett signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Packers in the offseason, but Green Bay is on the hook for his $6.3 million signing bonus. The remaining $700,000-plus would count against the Patriots’ 2017 cap. His “dead cap” value would only be $476,471, according to Spotrac.
If the Patriots don’t pick up a $2 million bonus early in the 2018 league year, Bennett will become a free agent again, and the Patriots salary cap will not take a hit.