In the immediate aftermath of Green Bay’s decision to dump tight end Martellus Bennett, the issue of potential bonus repayment had not come up. The designation accompanying his waiver — failure to disclose medical condition — suggested that it will.
Via Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Packers indeed intend to pursue bonus recovery from Bennett. They paid him $6.3 million up front on a three-year deal, which translates to an allocation of $2.1 million per year.
The Packers believe that Bennett concealed a torn rotator cuff. Bennett already has disputed that contention. His decision, however, to go on the offensive in this regard by, among other things, attacking the integrity of Dr. Pat McKenzie could compel the Packers to roll the dice on a grievance, if only to make Bennett sweat.
Common sense suggests that Bennett simply lost interest in playing for the Packers once the collarbone of quarterback Aaron Rodgers snapped. (The injury occurred after Rodgers held the ball a bit longer to give Bennett a chance to spring more open — and then Bennett dropped the pass.) After the injury, Bennett may have embarked on an effort to get traded (case in point: his social-media musing about retirement only three days before the trade deadline) and, when that failed, an internal campaign to get cut.
But instead of suspending him for conduct detrimental to the team or placing him on injured reserve (which would have entitled him to continue to be around the team), the Packers decided to move on — and to blame it all on an injury that they quite possibly knew or should have known about.
Ultimately, this may be a case of buyer’s remorse, with the Packers blaming it on a concealed injury when the reality is that they knew or should have known that they were acquiring a player with a history of being a little kooky and uncooperative at times. He held it together while Rodgers was healthy, and then it apparently all fell apart once the quarterback went down.
So instead of admitting that they should have just kept Jared Cook, the Packers will be going on the offensive about a supposedly unknown injury — possibly to cover up the fact that they shouldn’t have risked adding a known headache to the locker room.
Meanwhile, the Green Bay’s entire argument has been undermined by the fact that Bennett has passed another physical and could be playing for the Patriots on Sunday night.