New England claimed Bennett off waivers on Thursday, one day after he was waived by Green Bay with the designation that he failed to disclose a physical condition.
During the Packers’ bye week, Bennett said on social media that he was “pretty sure” he would retire after this season, then was sidelined with a shoulder injury following the first practice after the bye.
Bennett played for the Patriots in 2016. He had 55 catches for 701 yards and seven touchdowns, playing an integral role in the team’s Super Bowl championship season.
The Patriots didn’t re-sign Bennett as a free agent in the offseason, electing instead to trade for tight end Dwayne Allen of the Indianapolis Colts. Allen, however, has not recorded a catch in eight games this season, and in part because of that, the Patriots’ offense has struggled in the red zone.
In claiming Bennett, the Patriots inherit the three-year, $21 million contract that he had signed with the Packers. If the Patriots don’t pick up a $2 million bonus early in the 2018 league year, Bennett would become a free agent again, and the Patriots wouldn’t have any commitments on their salary cap, which also likely contributed to the team claiming him.
Information from ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss was used in this report.