- The Green Bay Packers cut tight end Martellus Bennett on Wednesday under the designation of failing to disclose an injury.
- Bennett created confusion on Friday when he practiced with the Patriots, who signed him off waivers, despite a shoulder injury.
- Bennett took to social media on Friday to give his side of the story, saying the Packers cut him to save money when he was ready to opt for surgery to fix his shoulder.
Martellus Bennett blasted the Green Bay Packers via social media on Friday, claiming the team cut him to avoid paying him while recovering from a shoulder injury.
The Packers cut the 30-year-old tight end on Wednesday under the designation of failing to disclose an injury. The New England Patriots then picked up Bennett for the remainder of the season.
Confusion about Bennett’s status grew on Friday when Bennett was practicing with the Patriots. Bennett had not played since Week 7 and had already been ruled out of the Packers’ Week 10 game. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Friday that Bennett had been playing through a torn rotator cuff and torn labrum.
Bennett took to Instagram on Friday, telling his side of the story.
“The Packers examined my shoulder on my visit March 10 and cleared it,” Bennett wrote on his Instagram story. “They even gave me an x-ray as well. It got worse during the season, specifically against the Cowboys [on November 8], so I asked to have it checked and we checked it. After a few days of contemplating to play with it or get surgery, I chose surgery. Now here we are.
“They tried to f— over me. [Packers team physician] Dr. [Ken] McKenzie trying to cover his own ass. After trying to persuade me to play thru [sic] a major injury and me choosing to get surgery.”
Bennett continued, saying McKenzie didn’t make him feel safe with his opinion on Bennett’s shoulder, so Bennett got three other opinions.
“I got three other opinions from doctors, who all said I need to get it fixed,” Bennett wrote. “So I decided to do that. And they decided to waive me with some bulls— excuse.”
Bennett initially practiced after the Packers’ Week 8 bye, but went back on the injury report afterward. Bennett said he went off anti-inflammatory drugs during the bye week and his shoulder continued to hurt, expressing concern to the Packers afterward.
Bennett signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Packers in the offseason. According to Bennett, the team panicked about him going on the Injured Reserve and having to pay him, so they waived him.
“They tried to f— me before they thought I would f— them,” Bennett wrote. “This was all about the money. All about the money. I get it. But don’t lie, homie. You know wtf was up.”
Bennett continued: “I chose my health over the ‘team.’ They chose money over me.”
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported that the Packers could try to recoup some of the unamortized portion of Bennett’s $6.3 million signing bonus.
By picking up Bennett, the Patriots inherited the remainder of his three-year, $21 million deal. However, Bennett has a $2 million bonus option for 2018 that the Patriots could decline, making Bennett a free agent. As Rapoport noted, there is little risk in the Patriots claiming him, as they could put him on the IR if his shoulder is an issue this year.
Bennett’s status is unclear going forward. Though he was practicing with the Patriots on Friday, his comments on social media made his shoulder sound too injured to play through.
The Packers did not immediately respond to request for comment.