Martellus Bennett’s absence from the Bears’ the voluntary minicamp this week and earlier workouts has a purpose. The gregarious tight end wants a new contract despite having two years remaining on his current one.
A source said the Bears’ new brass was taken aback by Bennett’s decision to skip their voluntary training. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Bears are now entertaining trades for Bennett, and that the Seattle Seahawks had inquired about him before acquiring tight end Jimmy Graham in March.
Bennett led all tight ends in catches last season with 90 and went to his first Pro Bowl. He was signed to a four-year deal worth up to $20.4 million in 2013.
What could the Bears get for Bennett with the draft beginning on Thursday?
“I would say a fourth-round pick, maybe,” said NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout for the Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles. “He’s a very talented football player, but at this point in time, when you look at that position in this draft, it’s not really top-heavy, but there is a lot of value in those middle-round picks. Maybe you could get a third? But I would think a fourth-round pick is probably where you would start.”
Bennett has been working out locally at FitSpeed Athletic Performance. Running back Matt Forte also isn’t participating in the Bears’ voluntary minicamp.
“I know these are individual choices by each player,” he said. “I understand this is all voluntary. With him andMartellus, of course we want them to be here, especially year one where we’re building chemistry and culture. But those are individual choices and these are voluntary right now.”
Were the Bears to move Bennett, they would be thin at tight end. Their roster includes Dante Rosario, Bear Pascoe and Zach Miller.
Contributing: Patrick Finley