By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Might there be a family reunion scheduled this summer for the Bennett brothers in Foxboro?
Bennett, 32, is coming off an 8.5-sack season for Seattle, but changes appear to be afoot for the once-fearsome Seahawks defense. Richard Sherman’s time in Seattle may be over, and so too might Bennett’s.
While nobody has yet reported any interest from the Patriots, they’re a team that figures to at least make a phone call. For one, they currently employ Michael’s brother, Martellus, who will be returning to the field in 2018 after contemplating retirement last year. The brothers — who were born 16 months apart — haven’t played together since their days at Texas A&M. Beyond that, they’re a team that could really use a boost in the pass rush department.
With Alan Branch almost certainly being done in New England after a lackluster season, the Patriots could use a veteran impact player on the line to complement Malcom Brown and Lawrence Guy on the interior of the defensive line, as well as Trey Flowers, Deatrich Wise and Derek Rivers on the edges.
Over the last six seasons, Bennett has averaged eight sacks per year, while playing in 91 of a possible 96 games. He was a disruptive force against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, helping to force Tom Brady to rush a bad first-quarter throw that was intercepted by Jeremy Lane in the end zone. In one mic’d up segment from that game, Brady was shown applauding Bennett for delivering a hard but clean hit during the game. It was something for which Bennett showed an appreciation.
“When Tom Brady gets hit, he gets up like ‘Good job, good hit’ and gets back in the huddle and holds his own like a man,” Bennett said of Brady during the summer of 2015.
Bennett also fought Rob Gronkowski at the end of that Super Bowl, but Gronkowski is a semi-professional wrestler. He can get over a little spat.
Bennett is a three-time Pro Bowler and a legitimate star player, but his contract remains reasonable. He’s set to count for about $7.4 million against the cap in 2018.
It’s unclear what the Seahawks would be seeking in exchange for Bennett. The Patriots own the 31st overall pick, as well as two second-round picks, in April’s draft. Belichick showed last year that he’s not afraid to trade a high draft pick in order to acquire an established player, as he traded a first-round pick to the Saints in exchange for Brandin Cooks, and swapped second/third-round positions with the Panthers in exchange for Kony Ealy. One of those deals worked out; the other did not. But the one that did not work was one made with the purpose of improving the defensive line, so it’s at least possible that Belichick gives it another shot.
The Patriots have also negotiated a couple of deals with the Seahawks recently. They traded a fifth-round pick and a seventh-round pick in exchange for Cassius Marsh last summer, a deal which came one day after the Patriots traded Justin Coleman to the Seahawks.
Of course, as is always the case with a Belichick-led team, nothing can ever be assumed, and the deals we discuss on the outside are rarely the deals discussed inside the walls of 1 Patriot Place. It’s probably more likely that the Patriots cut Martellus and have no Bennetts in 2018 than it is they employ both brothers.
But with a need at the position and with at least one member of the Patriots (for now) likely advocating for the player, it remains at this point in time the two-word phrase that we all probably say a bit too often at this time of year; it’s an “intriguing possibility.”