Waiver wire antics?

I don’t know if it is deliberate but Bill Belichick’s demeanor and dress remind me of the Emperor from Star Wars. It could be he is aware of this and likes such a negative image. It could be that the league promotes this image. Having an “Evil Empire” team is good for business. Baseball has done it with the Yankees for decades. It drives up ratings and attendance, as people want to see insult inflicted on teams that consistently win while theirs loses.

I don’t know, of course. But I thought this odd: Prior to Sunday night’s game against the Broncos, the Patriots acquired tight end Martellus Bennett from the Packers via the waiver wire. The Packers waived him due to an “undisclosed medical condition.” Economics are in play, as Aaron Rodgers is done for the season. The Packers’ claim to the national spotlight is gone. The team now wants to recoup some $4.3 million of his first year salary – part of a $21 million three-year contract*.

*(In football, contracts are not guaranteed beyond one year, so even though Martellus “signed a three-year deal” it is still “pay as you play” for the Packers, with only one year guaranteed. They want part of that one year back too.)

The whole affair is suspicious. Bennett had a superb year with the Patriots in 2016, with 55 catches for 701 yards and seven touchdowns. His average was 12.7 yards per catch. With the Packers this year he had 27 catches in six games for 271 yards (10.0 per catch). The  zero touchdowns for the Packers factor diminishes his worth in the eyes of fans, but those statistics are right in line with his 430 catches for 4,558 years (10.6 per catch) career average. (His 30 touchdowns stat is just impressive.)

OK, it makes sense to a degree, Packers economizing, Bennett a liability for a team that is going nowhere this year. The question is, how did he then end up with the Patriots?

According to NBC Sports, Bennett’s  agent also told other teams not to claim him off waivers, as he was retiring.  Another report surfaced that Bennett had told his family he was retiring, but that looks planted.

The waiver wire is simply a right of first refusal by all other teams in the league when players are released. The first claiming right goes to the team with the worst record on the date of waiver. It then goes to the next team in line, and so forth, all the way up to the team with the best record, right now the Eagles. All sports leagues do this to prevent the top teams from colluding with losing teams to stock up on the best players. The team claiming a waived player can pay him his existing price tag and play him immediately, as the Patriots did last Sunday night, November 12, 2017 against the Broncos. If no team claims him, he is then a free agent and can sign with any team, or retire.

With that in mind, here are the teams that passed on Bennett before the Patriots got him (without regard to tie-breakers for the Steelers, Vikings, Saints and Rams, who like the Patriots were 6-2 on that date):

49ers,  Browns, Giants, Buccaneers, Colts, Bears, Bengals, Broncos, Chargers, Texans, Jets, Raiders, Ravens, Cardinals, Dolphins, Falcons, Lions, Redskins, Bills, Cowboys, Jaguars, Seahawks, Titans, Chiefs, Panthers.

Do you mean to tell me that not one of these teams was willing to take a flyer on a player with Bennett’s credentials? Would a team perhaps claim him if only to deny his services to the Patriots? The Jets, Bills and Dolphins, in the AFC East with the Patriots, certainly had that incentive. And the hapless Broncos, sorely in need of offensive tools, felt the sting as Bennett caught three passes for 38 yards, including a long of 27 on Sunday night.

Did Bennett make it clear that he would only play for the Patriots, and that if any other team claimed him, he would retire? From appearances, he was simply being sent back to his former team. This is collusion.

Now that the GMs from the teams named above have all passed on him, and then seen him play and play well on Sunday night, they have to wonder if the Patriots are again up to their hanky-panky, this time abusing the waiver wire.

Here is what I think a likely scenario: The Packers, sans Rodgers, wanted to unload a financial burden. Patriots and Packers talked, and the Patriots agreed to take Bennett back. An “undisclosed medical condition” was invented and used as a cover story, a means of warning other teams away from claiming him. The path was cleared, and Bennett is now a Patriot.

Clay Mathews of the Packers knows what is up, and said as much:

“You know what, I think everybody knows the story there — we don’t need to talk about it much more. …  Like I said, we’re focused on the guys in the locker room, but it’s an interesting story that will probably be talked about for a while.”

I interpret “… we don’t need to talk about it” as “… we are not allowed to talk about it.”

The Patriots are the showcase Evil Empire,  and a team that perpetually suffers low draft choices due to too many wins. They use other means to sign the best players in the league. They regularly restock, where other teams have to go dumpster-diving to claim players to cover for injuries during the year.

The example of Martellus Bennett, then is a demonstration of how the league ensures that the Patriots remain evil. It is collusion, and every other team should be screaming bloody murder. But they are silent. What does that tell us?

12 thoughts on “Waiver wire antics?

  1. What does that tell us?

    Nothing … WTH you are talking about ??? 🙂
    Joking aside, that stuff reminds me on the pathetic melodrama my wife is watching.


  2. re: the hoodie. Ted Kaczynski is my all-time favorite. I designed a T- shirt back in the day, but no screen printer would touch it because the FBI had sent letters to every shop in Bozeman warning that to reproduce the photo, which looked nothing like (Ted) the suspect, was a copyrighted image. I just wanted to print “Harvard” (typical university circular design) with the fake, “Unabomber” sketch in the center. It was a no-go.

    More than you ever wanted to know about hoodies here. http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/27/living/history-hoodie-trayvon-martin/index.html

    The obvious: They sell lots of hoodies, make lots of money.


  3. You’re right Mark , the fact that the Bills did not grab Bennett , if only to keep him
    off the Pats , makes almost no sense . Maybe he would be a bad egg and tie up
    other efforts to get another player to help them .

    Steve , when I was in HighSchool , senior year 1983 , a few of us in my
    Commercial Art class make a fake ad campaign for ‘ Cylenol ‘ a spoof
    on the Tylenol poisonings that had been alleged to have come from
    the near by McNeil plant , our teacher thought it was funny and clever , we
    sent Karen down to the cosmetology class to get her made-up as our recently
    deceased model , we even took pics I still have , how do you think that went over
    when the Admins found out what we were doing …..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing. I just caught a rerun of Family Guy in which the plot was built on the notion that God makes the Patriots lose big games because he hates Bill Belichick’s nasty affect: God promised to leave the Patriots alone if someone could get Belichick just to smile … which he did at the description of the daily humiliations of the life of a paraplegic.

    Inasmuch as I take it as self-evident that Family Guy is a platform for the elite’s propaganda, this storyline fits hand-in-glove with your premise. The Force is with you, young Tokarski …


  5. Good call on Belichick resemblance.
    Funny we never see Belichick ‘coach’ during the game, aside from his occasional patented zoomed camera ‘pep’ talk “do your job, do your job”. Not that coaching during these games matters much anyway since they’re all rigged. Even still rarely do you see a head coach moving his mouth, other than for chewing gum.
    Martellus Bennett is terrible for one thing.
    He’s an overrated dufus who unlike his coaches likes to move his mouth.
    Beginning as a rookie in Dallas, Bennett was an immediate Pro-Bowl bench warmer (allegedly his early career coaches (DAL, CHI) took notice that Bennett moving his mouth was his only tangible skill set, and he was labeled a ‘malcontent’.
    But you’re right it’s very curious he’s back on N.E.
    Except for the fact the League is rigged so teams are Not concerned with trying to be more competitive because none it matters.
    Also notice the use of the word ‘story’ in Sports, such as our bestest buddy Clay Mathews.
    ‘Stories’ drive ratings.


    1. @HEALINGWITHSAVANNAH: yes, that is correct. Professional sports are simply bread and circuses. Once we get that notion, a little more space of freedom opens in the brain. I would rather have truth than illusions.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome! I think the guy, Brain Tuohy, is really good…and trustworthy…which is never a guarantee. I read one of Tuohy’s books which included stories about Joe Namath. I used to be a big football fan. Namath is such a shady character and is a good early example of obvious fake stories regarding players on and off the field.


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