TBaylor McCloud — Pats Militia
Martellus Bennett aka Marty B aka Martysaurus Rex aka The Black Unicorn had an interesting press conference this morning.
The interview began with some lighthearted banter about his merchandise sales…
Martellus Bennett not moving as much merchandise as he'd like but says "if you want to invest in cool invest in me" pic.twitter.com/feEslV5A9T
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) January 5, 2017
But one thing lead to another, and his contract status quickly became a topic of conversation.
Martellus Bennett said sales are tough as a 1-year player in market. When asked about staying in '17, his answer: pic.twitter.com/6w1NvIQxbi
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) January 5, 2017
This isn’t a new conversation, though. Bennett’s contract has been a noteworthy subject since the beginning of the season. As of now, Bennett will be an unrestricted free agent immediately following this season. He’s already played for four teams in his career, and if he wishes to, can freely leave and go play for his fifth. However, based on today’s comments, it seems quite apparent that he very much wants to stay in New England. People don’t just drop these types of quotes: “My family loves it here; I love being a part of this team, this organization, and this city.” if they don’t mean it.
And the fact that he does mean it, that he does want to stay in New England, makes me happy, and for a couple of reasons.
First, he’s been great for this Patriots’ offense.
With 701YD on the season, Bennett ranks 9th in the NFL among tight ends, and with 7TD on the season, he ranks 3rd. Are those numbers anything to write home about? Probably not. But are they more than serviceable? Absolutely, especially with the absence of Gronk. When he was traded here, the expectation was that Bennett would be playing second fiddle. He’d just be a compliment to Rob Gronkowski. However, with the exception of a couple of games, he’s had to be the guy. Luckily, he’s risen to the occasion when necessary. And, he’s been doing mostly everything on an injured ankle. From the beginning of the season on, he’s been playing through pain. That’s admirable in and of itself, but to still produce at the same time is even more so.
And he produces off the field to.
Marty B is a weird dude. He says weird things, makes weird jokes, and wears weird clothes, but it’s all worked. Coming into this season, there were a lot of questions concerning his personality. Would he fit in? Would he be a distraction? Would he go against the ‘Patriot Way’? However, the answers to all of those questions haven’t really mattered because nothing has gone wrong.
Yes, he’s still weird, but it’s been more than enjoyable. The guy is a quote machine. After every game, I’m glued to Twitter, just waiting for what he has to say. And I love most of the things that I get to read. But not once have I thought, “oh, that’s too far”, or anything of the sort. Everything’s about football, and everything’s about winning. Nope, his answers aren’t conventional, but as long as those two things, football and winning, remain at the top of his priority list, I don’t care at all.
But, unfortunately, I’m not the one making the decisions in Foxborough.
No matter how much a guy wants to stay here, how well he’s played, and how much of a fan favorite he is, the question is always raised: will the Patriots pay him? And more often than not, the answer is no. It has not mattered how good a player has been, how much they’ve meant to Boston, or anything else — if a player has asked for an ungodly amount of money, they’ve been shown the door immediately.
And Martellus Bennett will be no different. If he asks for a lot of money, he won’t get it. But, the thing is, I think he understands that. Even though he’s a guy who held out because of a contract dispute in Chicago, and even though he’s a guy who’s constantly talking about getting paid, something he said in that press conference leads me to believe he knows the deal.
At the 0:12 second mark of the second video included above, Bennett says “I ain’t really trippin’. Like I said, I save my money pretty good. I got a good, diverse portfolio.” That line right there leads me to believe that this is guy willing to settle for a hometown discount. (Note: the Patriots aren’t as stingy as people are lead to believe, but that’s a story for another day.) Obviously I could be reading into this a little too much, and I could be completely wrong, but I don’t think so. All year long, Marty’s been all about winning, all about making the playoffs, and for the first time in his career, he’s there. I think that will play a huge part in his upcoming contract negotiations.
However, for right now, I guess those should be put on the back burner. They were a conversation piece today, but there are more important things at hand. It’s the postseason, and like Bennett said, it’s about having a good week of practice, then preparing for a non-ghost opponent next week.