While Martellus Bennett’s tenure with the Green Bay Packers lasted less than a season, his impact on the team will last far longer. According to Pro Football Talk, the team will not recover any of Bennett’s original signing bonus after losing its grievance against him.
Due to the dismissal, the Packers must carry $4.2 million in dead money on this year’s books, the remaining amount of the guaranteed money from his contract. That leaves the team with approximately $17 million in cap space, according to Over the Cap’s projections. The decision marks the end of an ugly divorce between Bennett and the Packers.
Last offseason, the Packers signed Bennett to a three-year, $21 million contract in an attempt to fill a longstanding void at tight end. Though considering a coup initially, Bennett struggled during his first season in Green Bay. He dropped multiple passes and seemed out of sync with Aaron Rodgers and the passing game through the first five games of the season. Whatever rhythm the two could have developed became an afterthought when Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone in Week 6.
Bennett’s status with the team quickly changed in the aftermath of Rodgers’ injury. Bennett infamously sat out the multiple days of practice as well as the Packers’ Week 9 matchup with the Detroit Lions due to a shoulder injury and appeared unlikely to play in the following week’s game against the Chicago Bears. Green Bay then released Bennett with a “failure to disclose” designation, signaling the team felt misled by the player about the health of his shoulder.
Bennett then re-emerged in Foxborough after the New England Patriots claimed him off waivers. The tight end played through his shoulder injury for the Patriots that Sunday despite refusing to for the Packers, who believed Bennett decided to orchestrate his exit from Green Bay once Rodgers went down. The two sides took public shots at one another, which Bennett questioning the motives of team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie while former teammates like safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix accused Bennett of quitting on the Packers.