Michael Bennett gets raise as Pats restructure deal
The New England Patriots and newly-acquired defensive end Michael Bennett agreed to a reworked contract Tuesday that bumps up Bennett’s pay.
While it’s not a monumental increase, veteran defensive end Michael Bennett finally got the pay raise he’d long been asking for.
Part of the reason the Philadelphia Eagles traded Bennett and a seventh-round pick for a fifth-rounder in this month’s draft was because they no longer thought they could afford him. The New England Patriots weren’t much better off than the Eagles in salary cap space at the time, but after seeing Trey Flowers sign with the Detroit Lions, head coach and general manager Bill Belichick must have figured it was worth the necessary monetary investment.
As a result, the Patriots acquired Bennett, the Eagles achieved some cap relief, and Bennett joined a proven contender fresh off their third Super Bowl championship in the past four seasons. The one remaining ask on Bennett’s part was for a raise, and on Tuesday, news broke that his patience was rewarded by a modest increase in his 2019 salary.
His new contract increased in base value by about $1.05 million, and now includes a $4 million signing bonus. The restructuring ensures that more of Bennett’s existing contract money is guaranteed, and it also allows the Patriots to save about $700,000 against this year’s cap.
Of course, the biggest savings New England encountered this offseason came in bittersweet fashion on March 24, when All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski surprisingly announced his retirement from the NFL. The Patriots gained about $10 million in space with Gronk retiring, but they also lost one of the greatest offensive weapons quarterback Tom Brady has ever had.
Not long ago, the Patriots ranked No. 27 out of 32 teams in terms of available cap space in 2019. Now, as a result of the Gronkowski retirement, Bennett’s contract restructuring, and other deals and transactions over the past month, the team is all the way up to No. 12 on that same list. That upward trend could come in handy as New England attempts to re-sign some of their top remaining free agents, like Stephen Gostkowski, Danny Shelton, and Chris Hogan.