The G-Men also acquired a defensive end before the trade deadline finalized. They executed their first trade ever (shocking kind of) with the crosstown New York Jets to land Leonard Williams. We know that the Cowboys called the Jets about Williams (and later Jamal Adams) before they ultimately traded for Bennett, but a high price tag kept them away.
One of the factors for Williams is that he’s currently on his fifth-year option. He’s going to get a brand new contract in the offseason and that wasn’t the case for Bennett who was under his current contract through 2020. That changed, apparently, as part of the process of being traded to the Cowboys included restructuring his deal, he will now be a free agent after this season.
#Cowboys DE Michael Bennett restructured his contract as part of last week’s trade and is now set to be a free agent in March, per sources. Bennett can earn close to $2M in base salary and active roster bonuses for rest of 2019 + $750K in incentives. Last year of old deal deleted— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 31, 2019
Bennett already made over $5.6 million this year from the #Patriots, who paid him a $4M signing bonus when they upgraded his contract after acquiring him from the #Eagles. Now, he gets back to the table yet again in March.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 31, 2019
It’s possible that this was part of what Bennett wanted when he found out that he was being traded in the first place. Dallas is his third team since the 2018 season began (the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots, and now Cowboys), it figures that he would want to be able to establish some stability of his own choosing.
As NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero notes, it was the Patriots who already paid Bennett a hefty sum this season, so that’s good news from a business standpoint. Hopefully Bennett proves to be a worthy addition to the defense to the point that the Cowboys consider re-signing him in 2020. It’s possible that they could move on from Tyrone Crawford as well and since his injury was part of the reason they went to trade for Bennett, it figures that that position would be one of need for them in the offseason.
What’s more is that if Bennett does ultimately leave in free agency, the Cowboys could be in line for a compensatory selection depending on his contract. So they may have turned their seventh-round (likely sixth) pick into nine games (hopefully more) of Michael Bennett and then another pick.