Patriots claim Martellus Bennett off waivers

FOXBORO — The Patriots received a gift from cheesehead heaven.

They claimed tight end Martellus Bennett off waivers today to formalize a transaction that made too much sense not to happen. The Packers surprisingly released Bennett on Wednesday, and the Patriots jumped all over a golden opportunity for the reunion. To make room, the Patriots released defensive end Geneo Grissom, who had been a healthy scratch in the previous two games and would likely return to the practice squad if he clears waivers.

Bennett played a key role last season during the Patriots’ run to Super Bowl LI, particularly as he played through several injuries down the stretch to stabilize the tight end depth chart in the aftermath of Rob Gronkowski’s back surgery. Bennett caught 55 passes for 701 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns in 16 regular-season games, and his blocking was also consistently reliable.

This year, Gronk’s backups haven’t come close to that level of production. Dwayne Allen doesn’t have a catch on just six targets, and Tom Brady has never displayed any on-field chemistry with him. Undrafted rookie Jacob Hollister has three catches for 37 yards.

Gronk has largely been terrific with 34 receptions for 509 yards and five touchdowns, but defenses have clearly targeted him with added physicality without Julian Edelman to clear a bit more space over

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