FOXBORO — As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter Thursday evening, the Patriots have traded defensive end Michael Bennett to the Dallas Cowboys for a conditional 7th round draft pick in 2021.
Bennett had fallen out of favor in New England since the start of the season, in part do to a Patriots scheme change from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense, and partially because younger players such as Deatrich Wise and Chase Winovich had passed him on the depth chart. His frustration was visible, and culminated is a suspension last week following an altercation with a coach. Bennett’s suspension was lifted on Tuesday, but his interaction with reporters made it feel like he had no desire to remain in New England.
The Patriots acquired Michael Bennett this past off-season in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, sending a 2020 5th round pick to Philly for Bennett and a 2020 7th. In 6 games with the Patriots, Bennett played 130 snaps, ending with a season-low 11 against the Giants, in what would end up being his final game in a Patriots uniform. In those six games, he recorded 5 tackles, 3 for a loss, and 2.5 sacks.
By trading Bennett, the Patriots save ~$3 million in cap space. Bennett is also under contract for the 2020 season, at a cap hit of $10.3 million.
The Patriots roster currently sits at 52 players. Odds are Bill Belichick will add another body to bring a full 53-man roster into Sunday’s game against Cleveland. However, the team will need a roster spot for N’Keal Harry to return off of IR next week, so it’s probable they could look to bring in somebody for the short term.