According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Chicago Bears have made it known they are open to trading disgruntled tight end Martellus Benett.
Bennett, who signed a four year, $20+ million deal in 2013, is currently not attending the Bears' voluntary OTAs in protest of his perceived underpaid status. The Bears in response have seemingly put Bennett on the trading block. Should the Jets be interested?
Bennett just turned 28 years old and is signed through the 2016 season at a base salary of approximately $5 million per year, plus annual $100,000 workout bonuses. Trading for Bennett would cost the acquiring team approximately $5 million in cap space each of the next two years. However, Bennett has made it known he would expect any acquiring team to sign him to an extension upon completion of the trade, so that figure might change, depending on the precise terms of any extension. Given his age and level of production, Bennett is probably worth approximately $7 million per year, perhaps a bit more, but with his current contract expiring at the age of 30, it is unlikely any team would guaranty much, if any, money past the current expiration of his contract in March of 2017. Most likely we are looking at converting his current zero guaranty contract into a contract with some guaranteed money for two years, whether in the form of a signing bonus or straight guaranteed salary, and then a couple more years of non-guaranteed money at a higher rate of pay.
Bennett has transformed from Jason Witten's backup into a Pro Bowl tight end over the last three years, with years of 600+, 700+, and 900+ receiving yards in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively, and at least five TDs in each of those seasons. He is a big, athletic, 6' 7", 250 pound target. Assuming second year tight end Jace Amaro develops nicely, the two would form one of the most formidable tight end duos in the NFL. The Jets would also then have perhaps the biggest set of targets in the NFL, with 6' 3" Eric Decker, 6' 4" Brandon Marshall, 6' 5" Jace Amaro and 6' 7" Martellus Bennett the four primary targets.
The cost of trading for Bennett would likely be minimal, as the much more accomplished Marshall only cost a 5th round draft pick at a premium position, and Marshall, unlike Bennett, did not cost anything in terms of guaranteed money. A conditional 6th or 7th round pick would likely get it done. The Jets do not have a 2015 6th round pick to trade, but they have two 7th round picks, and they also might use their 2016 6th if necessary.
If the Jets were to trade for Bennett, they would be close to zero 2015 cap money after accounting for the incoming draft class and the practice squad, but they probably would then cut Jeff Cumberland to free up nearly $2 million in cap space. The more difficult fit would come in 2016, as the Jets are already close to zero 2016 cap space after accounting for signing the 2015 and 2016 draft classes, and many, many Jets are due to become free agents in 2016, including Mo Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, and the entire Jets offensive backfield, among others.
What do you think? Should the Jets continue raiding the Bears receiving targets this offseason and attempt to trade for Martellus Bennett?