Martellus Bennett was absent from the Bears’ 17-13 win over the Packers on Thursday night due to a rib injury. At least, that’s what both the team and the tight end claim. However, sources tell Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune that Bennett was acting out in practice two days before the game because he was upset with how he was being deployed in a red-zone package. It seems possible then that Bennett’s absence was sparked by frustrations over his usage and his contract as the latter issue led to him skipping voluntary offseason workouts.
Head coach John Fox was dismissive when asked if Bennett was upset with how he is being used. “You will have to ask him about that,” Fox said. “I don’t know. I don’t really care. I get upset too. I think he is one of the top-five targeted tight ends in the league.” Indeed, Bennett is No. 5 among tight ends with 76 targets and was No. 3 going into Week 12, trailing only Rob Gronkowski and Greg Olsen.
Bennett is earning $4.9MM with a $100K workout bonus for the 2015 season. He’s under contract for one more year with a base salary of $5.085MM and another $100K workout bonus. Currently, the 28-year-old has the 13th highest deal in the league (per Over The Cap) and he likely wants to be compensated closer to the top 5.