Another delay has pushed back Michael Bennett’s impending court case:
#Eagles DL Michael Bennett's attorney, Rusty Hardin, tells me his arraignment in Texas has been rescheduled again, for Aug. 7. Had been set for tomorrow. They're still going through discovery process, trying to get any videotape that shows Bennett entering field.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 26, 2018
Bennett was first indicted back on March 23rd by a Texas grand jury for injury to the elderly, a charge that could carry a fine up to $10,000 and a prison stint up to 10 years. Bennett was accused of shoving a paraplegic security staffer following his brother’s (Martellus) Super Bowl 51 victory over the Atlanta Falcons, when Michael stormed the field to celebrate.
As Pelissero notes, the delay comes due to a lack of any conclusive video evidence determining what happened as Bennett made his way onto the field. The only video we know of was shared back on March 24th by BGN, as Bennett’s sister Ashley released on her Twitter account a video of their post-game celebration. The video, however, doesn’t track the entirety of Michael’s entry onto the field.
The new date for Bennett’s arraignment—August 7th—is during Philadelphia’s training camp, which begins on July 25th. Pelissero included further notes from Hardin regarding the timetable from Bennett’s camp as the 2018 regular season approaches:
The #Eagles report to camp July 25. The hope on Bennett's side is to get the case dismissed before the regular season. If it goes to trial, no guarantees on timetable, but most likely that'd happen after the season.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 26, 2018
It’s good to know that Bennett will almost definitely be available for the 2018 season. When you look at the structure of Bennett’s contract, it’s questionable if Philadelphia was interested in keeping him for much longer than that, anyway: he can be cut without dead cap money at any point, and represents cap hits of $5.65M, $7M, and $8.5M in 2018, 2019, and 2020 respectively.
But Bennett looks to play an important role—at least early in 2018—as DT Tim Jernigan recovers from offseason back surgery and also represents an easy cut following this season. With inside/out versatility, Bennett could prove a more reliable interior rusher than Jernigan, whose long-term health is in question—and even if Jernigan comes back healthy, Bennett will provide key reps from DT in his stead during the first few weeks of the regular season.
There’s lots of moving and shaking going on for Philadelphia’s front four. We’ll have to wait a little longer still to learn more about Bennett’s future.