BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots will have a handful of free agents to deal with after this season, but they reportedly already have one priority in mind.
According to Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network, New England already sees signing tight end Martellus Bennett to an extension as an offseason priority.READ MORE: Alfredo Paratore, Lynn Man Charged With Murdering 80-Year-Old Mother, Due In Court
The Patriots acquired Bennett in an offseason trade with the Chicago Bears, and he’s been a key factor to the offense’s success to start the 2016 season. He’s filled in nicely as the top tight end option when Rob Gronkowski hasn’t been able to suit up, and the two have formed a powerful duo on the field when both are healthy. Through nine games this season, Bennett has 38 receptions for 504 yards and four touchdowns, and he’s also been a big factor when the Patriots have needed him to focus more on his blocking. Bennett has done all of this despite battling a handful of injuries himself.READ MORE: 'Challenging To Keep Up With All These Changes,' Wedding Planners Slammed By Demand After Pandemic
Asked about Bennett on Friday, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said he’s been a “tremendous” addition.
“He’s been so productive for us and I really enjoy playing with him,” said Brady. “You talk about a guy that’s been out at practice every day. I mean, he’s fought through a lot of stuff over the course of the year to be out there, trying to get better and improve. I think it shows a lot of mental toughness but it’s showing up with his ability to produce on the field.”
In an interview for WBZ-TV’s Patriots GameDay on Sunday morning, Bennett told Steve Burton that he is very much enjoying his time in New England.
“Football is fun. This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time,” said Bennett, a Pro Bowler in 2014. “I’ve kind of rekindled that love I had for football here. Losing, it sucks. No matter where it is, it sucks. Being in a winning culture and in an environment with guys who know how to win and know how to play – playing good football is what I do. It’s just fun.”MORE NEWS: J.P. Licks Ice Cream Chain Sued For Unpaid Rent During Pandemic