Bennett wasn't spotted at the Patriots' voluntary offseason training program Monday, Field Yates of ESPN reports. His absence shouldn't be a surprise, Yates points out, as Bennett takes residence in Hawaii in the offseason. Bennett was traded from the Eagles on March 14, after recording 34 tackles (25 solo) and nine sacks last season. The 33-year-old presumably will join the team at some point in the offseason and is projected to seal a starting spot on the Patriots' defensive line.
The felony charge Bennett faced from a March indictment was dropped Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports. Bennett was alleged to have injured a 66-year-old paraplegic while pushing his way onto the field after his brother, Martellus Bennett, won Super Bowl LI with the Patriots. With those charges dismissed, Bennett can now fully focus on integrating himself within that same New England squad in advance of the 2019 campaign.
Bennett and the Patriots have agreed to a reworked contract with a base value of $16.75 million over the next two seasons, Field Yates of ESPN reports. Traded from Philadelphia to New England in mid-March, the 33-year-old defensive end now receives a contract more to his liking, highlighted by a $4 million signing bonus. Bennett is working on seven straight years with at least five sacks, producing 57 in 107 games during that stretch. He should be headed for heavy snap counts as New England's replacement for Trey Flowers (Lions).
Bennett was officially traded from the Eagles to the Patriots on Thursday. The terms of the trade have yet to be released, but it's now a done deal that Bennett will continue his playing career with the Patriots in 2019. While the 33-year-old's advanced age may seem like he could be a risky addition at this point in his career, Bennett has been as reliable as defensive linemen come, playing a full 16-game season in six of the past seven years. Should he maintain his health as the year unfolds, Bennett should play a huge role in New England's attempt to replace defensive end Trey Flowers, who was allowed to walk in free agency before signing a $90 million deal with Detroit this week.
The Eagles are expected to trade Bennett to the Patriots on Friday, Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The trade makes a lot of sense in terms of positional need, as the Eagles have an impressive group of defensive ends led by Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett (shoulder), while the Patriots are in danger of losing their top pass rusher (Trey Flowers) when free agency opens next week. The 33-year-old Bennett has aged rather gracefully, piling up 17.5 sacks in 32 regular-season games the past two years. The Patriots theoretically still have enough cap space to retain Flowers, but this move suggests it isn't likely to happen.