Michael Bennett being traded to the Dallas Cowboys may seem like a significant loss at first glance, sure. But taking a closer look, the New England Patriots defense should keep rolling without the former Pro Bowler.
Bennett didn’t play against the New York Jets last week due to suspension and the defense pitched a shutout that night. Allowing less than 200 yards of offense against New York, it was statistically the best game they’ve had all season.
The week before that, Bennett only played 11 snaps and New England still had a great day, giving up only 14 points to the New York Giants. All of those points were scored in the second quarter as well, meaning this defense held their opponent scoreless for the entire second half of the game.
They’ve clearly shown that they can keep the ball rolling when Bennett isn’t on the field, so Patriots fans should be able to sleep soundly knowing their team should still be dominant on defense regardless of this move.
Now with Bennett being shipped off to Dallas, that opens up a roster spot or the team which they’ll almost certainly use to fill the hole made by his departure.
With Michael Bennett out of town, expect Byron Cowart and Deatrich Wise to take on bigger roles. The Patriots now have an open roster spot. They could use a big body up front to serve as depth behind Adam Butler, Danny Shelton and Lawrence Guy.
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) October 24, 2019
Deatrich Wise has shown flashes this year of his potential, so with Bennett being gone, this could be the time for him to step up. Byron Cowart was drafted in the fifth round this year and had a good preseason, which earned him a roster spot. The team clearly sees something in him so he could also assume more responsibility.
New England’s other option is to look for help outside of the organization via trade. They’d have to find a bargain though, with just under $3 million left in cap space. It’s not impossible but it would take some financial maneuvering to make that work.
The next test for this Patriot defense will be Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland doesn’t have a great offensive line, allowing 16 sacks on the season so far. So Bennett’s absence likely won’t be felt this week regardless of what move the team does or doesn’t do.