System arbitrator rules for Martellus Bennett in signing bonus fight

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The Packers signed tight end Martellus Bennett last year as a free agent, a rare acquisition by Green Bay of a veteran with name recognition. The experiment failed, the Packers waved him, and the team thereafter attempted to recover signing-bonus money under the argument that he had not disclosed a pre-existing shoulder injury.

On Tuesday, System Arbitrator Stephen Burbank dismissed the team’s effort, allowing Bennett to keep all of his $6.3 million signing bonus.

The NFL pursued the case on behalf of the Packers, claiming that “Bennett affirmatively misrepresented, and failed to provide full and truthful information concerning, his physical condition in connection with a March 2017 physical examination prior to the execution of a Player Contract with the Packers.” The Packers specifically alleged that Bennett concealed a rotator cuff injury.

The grievance failed because the Packers waived Bennett — and because the Patriots claimed the contract on waivers. Burbank determined that allowing the Packers to recover any portion of a signing bonus paid under a contract now held by another team would be inconsistent with the league’s waiver system. Put simply, if the Packers had wanted to pursue a recover of Bennett’s signing bonus, the Packers should not have waived Bennett.

Once they did, and once the Patriots claimed the contract on waivers, the Packers lost the ability to recover any of his signing bonus.

48 responses to “System arbitrator rules for Martellus Bennett in signing bonus fight

  1. Not so bad that the Patriots have the rights to Bennett given Gronk might call it quits. Here’s hoping they both come back and the Patriots can get back to a deadly 2 TE set.

    Things aren’t looking positive with Gronk right now though.

  2. Regardless if he tried to conceal an injury, which I haven’t seen the proof of, it’s up to the Packers team doctors to do a physical examination and determine if he is in good enough physical condition for the team to sign him to a contract…it’s up to the team to do their due diligence regarding the players medical condition…

  3. Goodell gave the arbitrator a wink and asked him to rule in Bennett’s favor just in order to keep his and his brother’s traps shut with race baiting comments that would have surely ensued from the both of them about having to pay the money back. The Rog in turn gave Green Bay a check for the same about. Swept under the rug.

    Just my guess but I’m guessing I’m right.

  4. genericcommenter says:
    February 27, 2018 at 4:46 pm
    Makes sense, whether you like him or not. And most of the dislike of him is for anti-human reasons.

    ——————————————————————————————-

    What are you talking about? I dislike him because he’s a quitter and in case you didn’t notice, he’s been let go by every other team which signed him, too. So are they all against him for “anti-human” reasons, too????? Give me a break!

  5. PoliticalCorrectnessBelongsInTheKitchen says:
    February 27, 2018 at 4:45 pm
    Wow. Just like always hard work and honesty paid off dividends oh wait…….team owners please black ball this waste of physical talent. Sincerely- every NFL fan left.

    ———————
    Contrary to popular belief the NFL does not blackball (collude) like that. But given his history most teams are likely to make their own decision that dealing with him might not be in their best interests.

  6. Since Martellus has no sense of ethics or honesty and is only in football for the money. It is only right in his mind that should keep the money. He earned it by playing in few games!!!!!! Right!!!!!!

  7. What are you talking about? I dislike him because he’s a quitter and in case you didn’t notice, he’s been let go by every other team which signed him, too. So are they all against him for “anti-human” reasons, too????? Give me a break!
    ———
    Quitter? Haha. They were a terrible team. Dude’s shoulder was messed up. No reason to keep messing it up when their season is in the tank. A smart team would have agreed with him & let him get it repaired & kept him fresh for the next season. He was willing to play if the team had a shot to do something, but they didn’t. That’s why he was good with playing for the Pats.

  8. I am still amazed how quickly his shoulder was good enough to play when he got with the Pats. That $30MM dollar Brady water and avocado ice cream is better than any medical knowledge in the world.

  9. This was executed by Ted Thompson and Russ Ball. Not good. Still appreciate the bulk of their mostly effective work, but they blew this one on the way in and the way out. I thought Bennett would be a good addition at the time. I was wrong. Can’t run anymore and can’t catch either.

  10. I always find it funny how most fans side with management over labor. Good for you Martellus. Glad you got your money and got away from that trash that is the Packers without Aaron Rodgers.

  11. Who was in charge of reading the fine print of the CBA? That $6.3M might take a chunk out of somebody’s Error and Omissions policy.

  12. For the fans who say he’s a quitter for packing it in – do you also say that Rodgers is one as well? He did come back from IR, play a game, and when they were eliminated from the playoffs went back on the IR.

    What makes what he did any less than what Bennett did?

  13. willycents says:
    February 27, 2018 at 5:03 pm
    I am still amazed how quickly his shoulder was good enough to play when he got with the Pats. That $30MM dollar Brady water and avocado ice cream is better than any medical knowledge in the world.

    ——————-
    Except he wasnt. He wound up on IR pretty fast. Turns out he wasn’t faking after all. At least the IR was then going on NE’s dime rather than GB’s. Maybe GB should consider that before getting so bitter. Also consider that he is not the cuase of their season going in the tank like it did. Sometimes a group with a really strong mad on wants to blame so bad they will just point anywhere and everywhere.

  14. Packers just proven to be the worst run team…well there is Cleveland. Your Dr’s should have EASILY seen that injury! I have had a torn Rotator and you can hardly put your arm up to comb your hair.. Most likely happened DURING his time with Packers and they won’t admit it!

  15. Its amazing how many GM’s flat out dont know the CBA. Then dont consult with the lawyers before making the decision. Well guess who knew the rules his AGENT!! Why would I admit to anything when its the teams job to provide a full physical. Funny how fans get mad cause they think Bennett is a liar and a bum because he can keep his signing bonus. Where are you fans when guys get cut in the middle of the season cause of a numbers game??? I hear the silence in the room. Fans understand this, its a cut throat business!!! Stop worrying about other peoples money cause in the end you really dont care.

  16. “What makes what he did any less than what Bennett did?” Bennett quit on the entire team once the star QB went down, long before the season outcome was determined. Rodgers tried to play and clearly wasn’t at his best, so why risk another injury with no chance to make the playoffs? The fact Rodgers came back at all proves he wasn’t a quitter. Bennett talked the talk and then didn’t produce while happily taking the $ and getting himself released. Can you not see how different that is?

  17. Fairly simple: Drop and give me twenty.

    You can tell quite a bit watching someone doing 20 push ups. Not to mention all the NRI’s and whatnot. It IS up to the Packers.

    If I’m a FA, I’m denying ’till I’m dying. Let them prove I’m not healthy. Sounds like a dirtbag move but who here would give up an unsigned winning Lotto ticket you found?

  18. thegreatjimbrown says:
    February 27, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    “What makes what he did any less than what Bennett did?” Bennett quit on the entire team once the star QB went down, long before the season outcome was determined.
    ————————-

    The season outcome was determined when Rogers went down.

  19. The really reason the Packers waived him, was because he lied about his injury and refused to play after Rodgers got hurt and also was threatening to retire. So the Packers did the right thing by waiving him. Who wants this cancer on their team? He’s not that good.
    The Packers did the right thing and the Viking fans don’t understand. That’s no surprise.

  20. Shows why Packers stay aay from FA. They’re just not any good at it. A week with Brady’s cult trainer rubber bands made even trash Bennett able to get on the field.

  21. No surprise in this decision. The very moment any issue goes to arbitration, the player will win it seems.

    That’s OK. Keep going forward. On to the next thing.

  22. I’m not a football punk says:
    February 27, 2018 at 6:24 pm
    The really reason the Packers waived him, was because he lied about his injury and refused to play after Rodgers got hurt and also was threatening to retire….
    ——————————
    He played walking wounded most of 2016 with Pats, well documented with an injured shoulder (plus ankle, and knee by the latter part of the season). He hung in there because Gronk was out, but Bennett’s injuries showed at times in playoffs. Pack office would have known this and I’m sure their supposedly top docs did. But they knew Bennett wanted a big payday and lured him anyway, thinking their super docs could get him fixed up. It wasn’t getting better in 2017 but Bennett played thru it with ever increasing painkillers – then when Rogers went out Bennett felt the Pack should let him have surgery – I’m guessing there was some previous verbal agreement to that effect given how much drugs they had him on. But the Pack’s office wouldn’t IR him. He told the Pats not to claim him, that he needed surgery – he played very limited one game and it was clear the shoulder was worse than in 2016, so Pats did what the Pack should have done and put him on IR. When the Pack cut him they lost any chance of claiming back money because their docs should/would have known. All the Pack had to do was IR him – given his recent injury history they should have claused the contract. And LMAO at those thinking Fraudger told the arbitrator to let Bennett off – it’s more likely the main reason the league went after Bennett in the first place was because he’d rejoined the evil empire.

  23. Two mistakes made in GB: (1) inadequate pre- signing physical by the Pack med staff; and (2) waiving him rather than IR. Maybe the front office review and shake-up should have included the med and training staff.

  24. Packers were exposed to how bad of a team they really were without A.R. Really Bad! It’s not like a gimpy Bennett would have made a difference in regards to the Packers success. They were really bad! If the Pack put him on waivers they have given up the right to get the signing bonus back. It’s the right call.

  25. A NE Patriots misrepresented something? That’s a surprise to anyone? I wonder where he learned it? Hint: Begins with a B.

  26. rxv5854 says:
    February 27, 2018 at 5:11 pm
    I always find it funny how most fans side with management over labor.

    Having been both in my life it’s easy to understand. The brotherhood of laborers only runs as deep as the knowledge of the BS side of labor. We all knew guys, and there are were more of them than they want you to believe, that are clock watchers who do as little as possible and are willing to let you take up their slack.

    It’s like the story about the BA who told his union members that they will only have to work on Wednesday from now on but would still get a full weeks pay.

    Union member takeaway, “this is BS, we have to work EVERY Wednesday”

  27. So who’s responsible for this really stupid move to bring Bennett to the Packers? The team made more personnel screw-ups than the Browns. Thompson is gone. Does this all fall on his shoulders? Nobody else?

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