Martellus Bennett has spent four seasons learning from Jason Witten in Dallas. And now he's ready to become a starting tight end in the NFL.
"I think at times you got glimpses but I was in a limited role," Bennett said of what he can do in a conference call. "I only played like 30 percent of the snaps while I was in Dallas. I think, in a larger role, I can do so much more. I think the sky is the limit. I don’t think anyone has really seen who I am as a player and what I have to offer."
"I am a stretch the field type guy," he added. "I like to get vertical. I believe I can create a lot of mismatches all over the field."
Bennett agreed to terms with the Giants on a one-year deal worth $2.5 million, a source told ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter. The Giants' official Twitter account posted a picture of Bennett signing the contract.
Bennett said he felt "awesome" with a one-year deal and was ready to prove he belongs. He first began to think about the Giants after seeing Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum go down with torn ACL knee injuries during the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI win over the Patriots. The two tight ends will likely start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
"My wife and I were watching the Super Bowl and I said, ‘Both tight ends just tore their ACL. We could end up in New York,’” he said in a story on the team's website.
It is still possible the Giants could look for another tight end as well but Bennett gives Eli Manning a 25-year-old tight end with tantalizing size and potential. The 6-6, 270-pound Bennett has four career touchdowns, all coming during his rookie season in 2008 and he had a career-high 33 receptions for 260 yards in 2010 while playing as Witten’s backup.
"I may not have caught a lot of balls while there but I learned a lot about football just watching him," Bennett said. "I just think it is time for me to move on and be my own guy."
"I do see myself as an every down guy," he added. "I don’t feel like anything is given to me. They expect me to come in here and work hard and earn every opportunity I get. I just want to show them this is what you got and earn what I deserve to get."
I know Bennett may not have lived up to his potential in Dallas but he did have Witten ahead of him. Considering the Giants' and tight ends coach Mike Pope's track record with developing tight ends -- look at Ballard and Kevin Boss -- Bennett could be a nice fit in the offense. He has size, hands and can block. (Boss, by the way, has a visit scheduled with the Chiefs for Thursday according to Adam Caplan of SiriusXM NFL radio).
And if it doesn't work out, the Giants and Bennett only did a one-year deal. I still wonder if the Giants will continue looking for another tight end but they have signed one of the best ones on the free agent market.
So, what do you guys think?