Foxborough, MA– In the past seven years, the New England Patriots have only managed to draft two players in any of the NFL Draft's fifth rounds, and that statistic stays true this year as the Patriots forego fifth round picks for a big trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. Yesterday, the Patriots agreed to terms with the Eagles to send a fifth round draft pick in 2020 to Philadelphia in exchange for Eagles and former Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett.
Bennett is 33 years old and has been embroiled in heaps of controversy throughout his NFL career, but he still has a lot of energy in his playing ability. Bennett recorded nine sacks in Philadelphia last season and in the past five years, only two players have pressured opposing quarterbacks as frequently as Bennett has. Coupling these valuable statistical assets with the versatility Bennett has to rush the quarterback from the interior and the exterior of the defensive line, the trade is a no-brainer for the Patriots defense. Bennett can only help the team and he will definitely be a key piece of the defensive effort next season. There's no denying that the pick-up is a solid one for New England.
One of the major questions that arises from the exchange, however, comes from what this means for the Patriots' free agent defensive end, Trey Flowers, who they opted not to franchise tag. Bennett is, in some cases, a statistical improvement over Flowers at the position, but Flowers is younger and definitely had more of an impact on his team in 2018 than Bennett did. But the move does not preclude the Patriots from re-signing Flowers. Bennett seems almost like a fail-safe in case New England does not retain Bennett, but the trade is a low risk one that still gives the Patriots plenty of flexibility to bring back Trey Flowers.
Another player they may bring back, as well, is Martellus Bennett, Michael's brother. It's been a lifelong dream of the Bennett brothers to play together and Martellus made it clear that he is thinking of coming out of retirement to play with Michael in New England and make it so the Patriots have two sets of brothers on the team, including Devin and Jason McCourty. It remains to be seen if New England would be interested in bringing back Martellus Bennet, though.