It has been speculated for months but now it is apparently about to be official, The Black Unicorn is in Chicago no more:
Teams finalizing deal, but Chicago and New England are expected to swap mid-to-late round picks in exchange for Martellus Bennett.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2016
The Chicago Bears have traded tight end Martellus Bennett to the New England Patriots. A swap of day two or three picks appears to be the compensation. We'll have the details as soon as they break but for now this is all we have.
Wheeling and dealing continues: Bears are trading TE Martellus Bennett to Patriots for draft-pick compensation, league sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2016
Originally a Phil Emery free agency signing, Bennett had a couple of productive seasons for the Bears, setting career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
In three seasons he racked up 208 receptions, 2,114 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Despite the production and a Pro-Bowl berth in 2014 when he led tight ends in receptions with 90, Bennett never seemed to buy in to the new John Fox led regime. Fox and GM Ryan Pace don't want players who put themselves above the team, cause distractions or aren't focused on the team's goals.
Martellus deal is pure Belichick. Banking on NE culture/Brady to bring out best in a mercurial personality. Low risk/potentially high reward— Dan Pompei (@danpompei) March 16, 2016
Now Bennett goes to a perennial contender where he will be paired with Rob Gronkowski. The Pats have a history of taking on "head case" type players with low-risk moves and trying to get the most out them.
What do you think of the move?
Compensation is said to be a fourth round pick to Chicago and they move a sixth to the Pats. The Bears had multiple sixth rounders.
Patriots will give up 4th and get back a 6th as well in Bennett deal. Late-round compensation still being worked out.— Tom E. Curran (@tomecurran) March 16, 2016
Per @RapSheet:— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) March 16, 2016
Pats give up fourth-round pick
Bears give up M. Bennett, sixth-round pick
UPDATE: Here's general manager Ryan Pace's statement on the trade.
"We will continue to pursue all avenues to make our team better as we prepare for the 2016 season," General Manager Ryan Pace said. "In a perfect world a trade is a win-win for both sides and we believe there is upside to all parties involved in this deal. We were able to acquire a higher pick to help us continue to build our team. We wish Martellus nothing but the best as he continues his career in New England."