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INDIANAPOLIS - The Green Bay Packers will not recuperate any of the signing bonus paid last spring to tight end Martellus Bennett, whom they waived just seven games into a three-year contract.
The Packers had been trying to recover the prorated portion of Bennett’s $6.3 million signing bonus, part of a $21 million deal. The prorated portion amounted to $4.2 million and remains as dead money on their 2018 salary cap. The Packers are hovering around $20 million under next year’s cap.
The decision handed down from arbitrator Stephen Burbank was first reported Tuesday by Pro Football Talk, and a source confirmed it.
The Packers’ relationship with Bennett trended south over the team’s midseason bye week. Not long after quarterback Aaron Rodgers was placed on injured reserve with a broken collarbone, Bennett announced over social media he was considering retirement at season’s end. Privately, he told team doctors he needed surgery to repair a shoulder injury, and was unable to play.
Officially, the Packers released Bennett with a designation of failing to disclose a medical condition before signing his contract. Bennett quickly signed with the New England Patriots and played two games before his season ended on injured reserve because of a hamstring issue.
With their designation that Bennett failed to disclose medical information, the Packers hoped to recover Bennett’s prorated signing bonus. Instead, Burbank determined it would be inconsistent with the league’s waiver system for the Packers to recover part of a signing bonus under a contract currently paid by another team.