The New England Patriots took an unusual step this week, reworking the contract of recently-acquired defensive lineman Michael Bennett to add both an additional year and more guaranteed money to his deal. Bennett was acquired in a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this offseason in exchange for the Patriots swapping their own 2020 fifth-round pick for Philadelphia’s seventh-rounder. He was headed into the final season of a three-year, $30.5 million extension that he signed back in 2016, when he was still with the Seattle Seahawks.
Now, he’ll make $16.75 million over the next two years in new England, including $4 million to sign.
Bennett will essentially work as the replacement for departed edge rusher Trey Flowers, who signed a monster deal with the Detroit Lions, who are led by former Patriots employees Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia. Bennett is capable of working on the edge or the interior, and he’s been one of the best defensive linemen in the league for years. He had another strong season last year in Philadelphia, racking up nine sacks, 15 tackles for loss, and 30 quarterback hits despite playing just 70.6 percent of defensive snaps, per Pro Football Focus, his lowest snap-share since 2013.
Given his versatility and ability to make plays against both the run and the pass, he is essentially a perfect fit for New England’s defense, and the Patriots should more than get their money’s worth on this deal. Add in the fact that they acquired him by merely agreeing to move down late in the 2020 draft, and that they’ll get a compensatory pick for letting Flowers walk for a huge deal elsewhere, and this is well worth it.