Dallas will send a late-round draft pick to New England in exchange for Bennett
Written by: Greg Lehr | @greglehr3
The Dallas Cowboys have remained busy during their bye week, trading for versatile defensive end Michael Bennett from the New England Patriots in an effort to bolster their depth along the defensive line. In return, Dallas will send a 7th-round draft pick, which could potentially turn into a 6th-round pick, in the 2021 NFL Draft according to Adam Schefter.
The move comes just after Bennett completed his one-game suspension, a disciplinary measure issued by the team, for what was described as “philosophical disagreement” with defensive line coach Bret Bielema. The three-time Pro Bowl defender had become frustrated with both his playing time and the way in which he was being utilized in New England’s 3-4 defensive scheme. Through six games this season, Bennett has 2.5 sacks while seeing his playing time drop each week, from 55% of the defensive snaps in the opener against Pittsburgh down to just 22% in week six against the Giants.
During his more recent tenures in Philadelphia and Seattle, Bennett thrived in a 4-3 scheme and should be happy to return to familiar territory in Dallas. Throughout his 11-year career, he has 65.5 sacks to his name in 147 games. Just last season, Bennett notched 9 sacks for the Philadelphia Eagles while also compiling 34 tackles, 15 of those being tackles for loss.
In Dallas, Bennett will join DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn to form a formidable rotation at defensive end, with Dorance Armstrong and Kerry Hyder also in the mix. The Cowboys acquired Quinn from Miami this past offseason in a similar type of trade, sending a 6th-round pick to the Dolphins for his services. Despite missing the first two games of the season, Quinn has already given the Cowboys a solid return on their investment. With six sacks in five games, Quinn is currently tied for fifth in the league in that category. Lawrence has been a little quieter to start the year after offseason shoulder surgery but should continue to build on his 3.5 sacks after the bye week.
This move also helps the Cowboys replace Tyrone Crawford, who offered valuable flexibility along the defensive front but is out for the year after undergoing season-ending hip surgery. Bennett figures to play a similar role as Crawford, rotating in at both defensive end spots and potentially inside as an under tackle (3-technique). Rod Marinelli would love to improve the interior pass rush alongside Maliek Collins, Antwuan Woods, and rookie Trysten Hill. Bennett also rejoins Cowboys' Defensive Play-Caller/Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, who each spent time in Seattle during the Seahawks' "Legion of Boom" years on defense.
All in all, Bill Belichick was clearly ready to move on from Bennett, who was becoming a bigger headache inside the Patriots’ locker room, by shipping him out of town for only a late-round pick next year. Besides, Belichick's defense is putting up historically great numbers through the first seven weeks of the season, indicating they will be just fine without Bennett in the fold.
Dallas, on the other hand, takes a flier on a proven veteran that should fit seamlessly into their defense as they look to make a second-half playoff push. The Cowboys are currently 4-3 and in sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
Bennett's first game with the star on his helmet will come after Dallas’ bye week when they travel to New York to face off against the Giants on Monday Night Football. One other date to keep an eye on? November 24th, when Bennett and the Cowboys travel to New England.