According to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Patriots have traded Michael Bennett to the Dallas Cowboys for a conditional 7th-round pick. The pick could improve to a 6th rounder, likely dependent on Bennett's playing time for the new team.
Bennett saw diminishing snaps over the first six games of the season before a blow up with coaches resulted in his suspension this past Monday night against the Jets. Back at practice on Wednesday, Bennett still seemed frustrated by his situation. It's not that surprising that the team decided to move on from him, especially considering the historic pace of the defense even with minimal contribution from the long-coveted defensive lineman.
Still, Bennett showed up well when he was in the game, grabbing two-and-a-half sacks and four QB hits in limited action.
The Patriots acquired Bennett early last offseason and it seemed like he had long been a target of Bill Belichick. But as the team building process continued and Jamie Collins re-entered the picture, the defense slowly became more linebacker-centric.
It was a throwback to the early dynasty days and the result was more two-gap techniques for the defensive linemen that allow the linebackers to run free and make plays. For a stellar upfield, one-gapper like Bennett it left limited opportunities, mostly as an end-of-game interior rusher. The emergence of Adam Butler into an every-down defensive linemen also helped pushed Bennett down the depth chart.
Bennett did provide good depth but was too good to ride the bench the whole season. When he became discontent it meant his days in Foxboro were numbered, but it won't be the last the Patriots see of Bennett this season as he'll return to New England with the Cowboys on November 24th.