GREEN BAY, Wis. -- You could say Mike McCarthy had his eye on Martellus Bennett for a while. The same could said of Bennett for his new quarterback.
It was last year at the NFL annual meetings, where McCarthy raved about the New England Patriots' acquisition of the veteran tight end in a trade from Chicago in order to pair him with Rob Gronkowski.
“I think what New England did with the two tight ends, that’s probably as good as a personnel transaction I’ve seen as far as [a] pure matchup,” McCarthy said at the time. “Defensive coordinators right now are [asking], ‘How do you cover both of those guys? Who’s going to be displaced? Who’s not?’ That’s why the tight end position and the safety position in today’s NFL is a prominent position in my view.”
How McCarthy ends up using Bennett, who signed with the Green Bay Packers on Friday, remains to be seen. But he certainly doesn’t have a Gronkowski to pair with his new tight end. Double-tight end sets are a part of McCarthy’s offense but not as big a part as his three-receiver set. He paired Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers together at times, but it wasn’t necessarily a go-to package.
“I hated playing against Aaron,” Bennett said in an interview with the Packers' website shortly after he signed Friday. “I just got off the phone with him, I said, ‘I hate that guy on the other side,’ but it’s going to be pretty good to be on the same side with him and catching passes. I’ve seen him make a lot of amazing throws, and he’s been one of the best for a really long time. I’m just going to try to come in and contribute to the best of my ability.”
For his part, Rodgers seemed pleased with the move based on his Twitter post shortly after news of Bennett’s signing broke, even after he said Cook should be one of the Packers’ priorities to re-sign this offseason. With Bennett in town, Cook will play elsewhere this season in what was a bizarre turn of events Friday afternoon. First, news broke that Cook would not be back in Green Bay. Before the shock of that had worn off, the Bennett signing became public.
Much like when Cook came to Green Bay last year, Bennett was attracted to the idea of playing with Rodgers and for a Super Bowl contender.
The difference, however, is that Bennett already got the chance to play with a Hall of Fame quarterback and already has a Super Bowl ring.
“I wanted another chance to make a run at it,” Bennett told Packers.com. “I want to be in a situation where I could win again right now. I have that victory taste in my mouth and I want to taste it again.
“Watching the Pack last year, I saw some things with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback and Jordy Nelson outside, Randall Cobb and all the talent on the team, I thought it would be a great place for me to come in and just try to add onto what they already have.”