Patriots notebook: Tight end Martellus Bennett returns after being cut by Packers

FOXBORO — The Patriots received a gift from cheesehead heaven.

Tight end Martellus Bennett was claimed off waivers yesterday to formalize a transaction that made too much sense not to happen. The Green Bay Packers surprisingly released Bennett on Wednesday, and the Pats 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 Pats’ 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. In 16 regular-season games, Bennett caught 55 passes for 701 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns, and his blocking was also consistently reliable.

This year, Gronkowski’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.

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

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