Like his team as a whole, tight end Martellus Bennett got off to a rough start in the Super Bowl before finishing with a flourish.
Bennett was flagged for holding twice in the first half (one was declined because of LeGarrette Blount’s lost fumble), but came up with a 25-yard catch on third down early in the fourth quarter to set up a field goal. He was also the target on a pass in overtime that resulted in a pass interference penalty on De’Vondre Campbell that set the Patriots up on the 2-yard-line.
James White scored two plays later and the Patriots had a win that Bennett credited to the team’s work ethic. He may be able to credit the win for a boost to his bank account. Bennett is headed for free agency and
“I’m going into free agency as a Super Bowl champion. You know they overpay Super Bowl champions,” Bennett said on NFL Network.
The Patriots traded for Bennett as a complementary piece to go with Rob Gronkowski, but showed he could play a larger role while Gronkowski missed time with injuries at the start and end of the year. He’s had a 90-catch season in the past and has shown an ability to play well in a variety of systems in his time with the Cowboys, Giants and Bears.
He’ll turn 30 next month and the Patriots don’t have a habit of overpaying for players who have reached that point in their careers. That may make a return engagement for Bennett unlikely unless he finds he’s wrong about what effect the win will have on his earning power.