The Philadelphia Eagles are sending veteran defensive end Michael Bennett to the New England Patriots, according to a report from the Inquirer’s Jeff McLane.
McLane also reports the Eagles will likely receive the Patriots’ fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft in exchange for Bennett and the Eagles’ seventh-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Certainly not a great return but it’s more preferable than cutting him outright.
This news hardly comes as a surprise given the report from earlier today that the Eagles were planning to trade or release Bennett.
It’s also not surprising that the Patriots were interested in Bennett considering they reportedly tried to acquire him from Seattle last offseason. (I also predicted this Eagles-Patriots trade on the most recent BGN Radio episode.)
It would’ve been ideal for Philadelphia to keep Bennett around for the 2019 season but he made it clear he wants a pay raise. The Eagles are limited on cap space and they weren’t super motivated to give more money to an aging defender who is potentially facing discipline and seemed unhappy with his role prior to Derek Barnett getting hurt last year.
The Eagles open up $7.2 million in cap space (zero dead money) with this move. They also lose an important part of their pass rush rotation.
The good news is that the cupboard is not bare. The Eagles have Brandon Graham and Barnett as their starters for 2019. There seems to be optimism that Chris Long will be back next season. The Eagles still have 2018 fourth-round pick Josh Sweat and it’s possible they add another young pass rusher (or two) via the 2019 NFL Draft. There are also a number of edge rushers available in free agency.
Losing Bennett is a bummer (especially since it’s to the Patriots) but this was a tough spot for the Eagles.
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