Patriots release tight end Martellus Bennett
/ Patriots

By Mike ReissESPN Staff Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots released veteran tight end Martellus Bennett on Wednesday.

The move was expected, and it creates about $6 million in salary-cap space.

Bennett, who turns 31 on March 10, was due a $2 million roster bonus on March 14. Had the Patriots elected to pick up the roster bonus, it would have been an indication that Bennett -- who was due a $3.6 million base salary in 2018 with the chance to earn an additional $2.6 million in incentives and bonuses -- was part of their future plans.

The Seahawks are trading defensive end Michael Bennett to the Eagles, sources tell ESPN. Philadelphia will also receive a seventh-round draft pick and will send wide receiver Marcus Johnson and a fifth-rounder to Seattle.

That seemed unlikely, especially as the Patriots need cap space as part of their free-agent plans.

Releasing Bennett gives the Patriots about $23 million in cap space, some of which will be needed if the team plans to make competitive offers to free-agents-to-be such as starting left tackle Nate Solder, slot receiver Danny Amendola and running backs Dion Lewis and Rex...

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