FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots have claimed veteran tight end Martellus Bennett off waivers.
Bennett, who was waived by the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday, played for the Patriots in 2016. He had 55 catches for 701 yards and seven touchdowns, playing an integral role in the team’s Super Bowl championship season.
The Packers waived him with the designation that he failed to disclose a physical condition.
During the Packers’ bye week, Bennett said on social media that he was “pretty sure” he would retire after this season, then was sidelined with a shoulder injury following the first practice after the bye.
The Patriots didn’t re-sign Bennett as a free agent in the offseason, electing instead to trade for tight end Dwayne Allen of the Indianapolis Colts. Allen, however, has not recorded a catch in eight games this season, and in part because of that, the Patriots’ offense has struggled in the red zone.
In claiming Bennett, the Patriots inherit the three-year, $21 million contract that he had signed with the Packers. If the Patriots don’t pick up a $2 million bonus early in the 2018 league year, Bennett would become a free agent again, and the Patriots wouldn’t have any commitments on their salary cap, which also likely contributed to the team claiming him.
To make room for Bennett, the Patriots will waive DE Geneo Grissom, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
Grissom is a third-year player out of Oklahoma whose primary contributions came on special teams. He is eligible to return to the Patriots’ practice squad if he clears waivers.