New England Patriots defensive lineman Michael Bennett speaks with members of the media in the team’s locker room following NFL football practice, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
The Dallas Cowboys have made a trade to try to upgrade their roster during the open week for the second straight year, although this move isn’t quite as bold.
The Cowboys acquired defensive lineman Michael Bennett from the New England Patriots for a conditional late-round draft pick in 2021, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Thursday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn’t been announced.
The open week for Dallas (4-3) was after seven games last year as well, when they sent their first-round pick in this year’s draft to Oakland for receiver Amari Cooper. The Cowboys’ new No. 1 target has proven to be a big boost for quarterback Dak Prescott’s offense.
Bennett had just returned to the Patriots after serving a one-game suspension for what he said was a “philosophical disagreement” with defensive line coach Bret Bielema.
Bennett is familiar with Dallas secondary coach and passing game coordinator Kris Richard. They were together for five seasons in Seattle.
The 33-year-old Bennett is also familiar with Texas and the Cowboys. He played high school football in the Houston area before going to Texas A&M. His younger brother, tight end Martellus Bennett, was a second-round pick by Dallas in 2008 and spent his first four seasons with the Cowboys.
Michael Bennett should give the Cowboys the position flexibility they desire under defensive coordinator and line coach Rod Marinelli. The move is also a nod to the loss of Tyrone Crawford, who tried to play through a hip injury but needed surgery and is out for the season.
A three-time Pro Bowler, Bennett had his best season in 2015 with the Seahawks, when he had a career-high 10 sacks. He’s had nine sacks twice, most recently last year in his only season with Philadelphia, one of the Dallas’ NFC East rivals.
Bennett had 2½ sacks in six games with the Patriots. He has 65½ sacks for his career.
The Cowboys next play at the New York Giants on Monday, Nov. 4.