Packers announce the signing of free agent tight end Martellus Bennett

The Green Bay Packers have dipped into the free agent market in a major way.

Tight end Martellus Bennett, most recently of the New England Patriots, is expected to sign a multi-year deal with the Packers, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports.

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Green Bay had reportedly made re-signing tight end Jared Cook a priority, but it appears once talks broke down earlier on Friday they moved on to Bennett, who should be an upgrade at the position. With the Patriots last season, the 30-year-old caught 55 passes for 701 yards and seven touchdowns as New England claimed its fifth Super Bowl title. The signing will give the Packers a chance to stretch the middle of the field, something Cook was able to do and something that had been missing since Jermichael Finley was forced to retire in 2013.

Bennett is known to speak his mind, and that’s likely at least partly responsible for him moving around so much during his 9-year career, with stops in Dallas, New York, Chicago and New England.

A foray into the free agent market like this is a rarity for Packers general manager Ted Thompson. Bennett will be the first unrestricted free agent he’s signed since 2012, the longest streak of any team in the NFL.

Bennett will join Richard Rodgers as the only experienced tight ends on the roster.

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