Martellus Bennett Get Your Silly Ass to Practice


Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll state this as simply as I can – Martellus Bennett, get your silly ass to practice!

Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett is sitting out from Chicago Bears organized team activities, opting to hold out for a new contract.  Mind you, Bennett is only halfway through a 4-year, $20.4 million dollar contract that’s set to pay him over $6 million in each of the last two years of his deal.  In the meantime, he’s costing himself $100,000 in workout bonus money.  Hey Marty, if you’ve got an extra $100k to blow, I’ll take it!

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  • The Bears signed Martellus Bennett as a free agent at the open of 2013 free agency, grabbing him from the New York Giants.  As a member of the Giants, Bennett was coming off what was a career year at that time, 55 catches for 626 yards and 5 touchdowns.   Before his season in New York, Bennett was a second round draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2008.  He was buried on the depth chart behind Jason Witten, recording 85 catches for 846 yards and 4 touchdowns in four seasons in Big D.

    So it’s not surprising that the Bears signed Bennett, a tight end with 140 catches and 9 career touchdowns, to a mid-tier deal.  But under Marc Trestman in his pass-happy offense, Bennett flourished and had a career best 90 catches for 916 yards and 6 touchdown campaign and a trip to the Pro Bowl.  As a Bear Bennett has 155 catches, 1675 yards and 11 touchdowns in two seasons.

    Bennett led all tight ends in 2014 with his 90 catches, ranked third in yardage and 7th in TD’s.  In 2015, he’s set to make over $6 million, but that ranks his pay outside the top 10 annual salaries for tight ends according to  A huge chunk of the guaranteed portion of Bennett’s contract has already been paid out in his signing bonus.  In my estimation, Bennett has outplayed his contract and probably deserves a raise.  BUT…

    I don’t like Bennett’s approach to skipping practice, especially with a new regime with GM Ryan Pace and no-nonsense John Fox in charge.  There’s a new offense to learn, new teammates to get to know and new chemistry to start building.  The Bears are installing the building blocks for that new offense now, in OTA’s.  Fox wants guys who eat, sleep and breathe football, but what’s Bennett doing?  He’s at home, doodling.

    The Bears aren’t in any hurry to rework Bennett’s contract and while the new regime can’t argue with the production, they don’t have any ties to Bennett.  As Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole points out from a Bears source, they were 5-11 WITH Bennett and his career stats last season, so what do they have to lose without him.  The Bears are not inclined to re-structure the deal unless it’s somehow to their advantage.  If the Bears acquiesce to Bennett’s beef with two years left on his deal, they’ll have players lined up to get new paper.  Pace can’t set a precedent and re-work Bennett’s deal.

    It’s never struck me that Bennett is much of a practice player.  I think he takes the Allen Iverson approach to practice.  He had a run-in with rookie Kyle Fuller last training camp that landed him in the doghouse.  Part of me thinks Bennett is just holding out so he can skip practice and spend time with his family while pursuing his many eclectic off-field interests.  With no leverage and $6 million at stake, I expect we’ll either see Bennett at camp come July or with a new address.  Let’s see where Bennett fits in with Fox in Adam Gase’s new scheme and if 2015 proves successful, by all means, he should get a new deal.

    What do you think?  Should Bennett get to practice or should he continue to hold out?  Do you think he’ll be with the Bears in 2015 or will he get himself traded?