After refusing to endorse Martellus Bennett during last week’s NFL Scouting Combine, the Bears are taking the logical next step, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter: working with Bennett to trade him to an agreeable landing spot.
The tight end has one year left on his contract and doesn’t figure to yield more than a mid-round pick.
Appearing on WSCR-AM on Friday, Bears chairman George McCaskey didn’t confirm the report but said that “I leave that all in the capable hands”of GM Ryan Pace and coach John Fox.
Bennett’s first impression to the Bears’ new staff didn’t help his reputation inside Halas Hall. He sat out during last season’s voluntary offseason activities because he wanted a new contract in the wake of his first Pro Bowl appearance. He returned only when he could be fined for not participating.
Neither Pace nor coach Fox could guarantee he wouldn’t do the same this offseason.
Bennett played in only 11 games last season, catching 53 passes for 439 yards. A ribs problem landed him on Injured Reserve on Dec. 8.
About a month before he was lost for the season, Bennett questioned his role in the Bears offense — despite, at the time, being third among NFL tight ends in targets.
When he stayed home rather than travel to Green Bay for the Bears’ Thanksgiving night game, Bennett claimed he didn’t watch the game live. His wife did, he said, while he was in the other room.
Bears brass, tellingly, refused to endorse Bennett at the NFL Scouting Combine last week. Both Pace and Fox merely reiterated that he was under contract.
“I haven’t talked to him recently,” Pace said last week. “Really with him, he’s under contract. We have a lot of players that aren’t under contract, so that’s where our focus is right now.”
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