Bennett: 'I love being a part of this team, this organization and this city'

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Bennett: 'I love being a part of this team, this organization and this city'

FOXBORO -- Martellus Bennett met with reporters on Thursday while wearing a "Football Marty" hooded sweatshirt and a hat with a cartoon image of his face emblazoned on the front. 

Ever the business man, Bennett is trying to sell, sell, sell.

"It's called micro-branding," he said. "You focus on the area that you're in and then eventually people tell other people about it, then you branch out and do a little bit more so I started a little thing called Football Marty."

He's sold some gear, he explained, but it sounds like the stuff hasn't exactly been flying off the shelves. 

"I'm moving some. Not as much as I would like to," he said. "It's hard being a one-year guy in the market. A lot of people don't know if they want to invest in you because they don't know if you're going to be here next year or not. But I like the coolest stuff. So if you want to invest in cool, you want to invest in me."

Will the Patriots be looking to invest in Bennett? With the playoffs approaching, and with Bennett appearing to round into form physically after dealing with an ankle injury for most of the season, that's one question that faces the team as it looks at its long-term roster configuration. 

Bennett is in the last year of his contract and is scheduled to hit unrestricted free-agency in March. He'll turn 30 this offseason, and could command a deal that looks something like the one tight end Greg Olsen got from the Panthers headed into his 30-year-old campaign.

Asked if he could see himself in New England for the 2017 season and beyond, Bennett made it clear just how much he's enjoyed playing with the Patriots.

"I love it here," he said. "We’ll figure it out when it’s time to figure it out, but my family loves it here, I love being a part of this team, this organization and this city. When it comes around, it comes around. I ain't really tripping, like I said. I save my money pretty good. I’ve got a good, diverse portfolio, so I’m not really tripping right now."

The Patriots, of course, have provided Bennett an opportunity to do something he hasn't done since when he was with the Cowboys in 2009: Make the postseason. While he's used colorful means to describe all the winning he's done with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick this season, he's taking a more subdued approach to playoff football this week.

"I'm not very excited," he said. "It’s the bye week right now so I’m just chilling. I just save my energy, build up as it goes on. There’s no reason to have a lot of highs and lows this week, so I’m just trying to have good focus in practice and get better this week, take some time off and see what I can do to contribute and make the team better for the next game. We don’t know who we’re playing, so it’s hard to get excited about ghosts. But for overall, I’m just chilling.”

It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

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It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

Gronkowski says he has 'no doubt' he'll be ready for start of next season

When it comes to projecting Rob Gronkowski's health, it's been best to steer clear of absolutes. There have been too many injuries, too many surgeries, to predict exactly how he'll feel months in advance. 

Still, in speaking with ESPN's Cari Champion recently, he said he had "no doubt" he'll be ready for Week 1 of the 2017 regular season. 

"Yes, for sure," he replied when asked if he expected to be good to go. 

Gronkowski also fielded a question about his long-term future in the sit-down. Lately it's been his coach Bill Belichick and his quarterback Tom  Brady who receiver all the life-after-football queries, but Gronkowski, 27, was asked how much longer he'd like to play. 

"I’m not really sure," he said. "I mean, I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I possibly could play. My mindset is to keep on going."

Gronkowski landed on season-ending injured reserve in December after undergoing a procedure on his back -- his third back surgery since 2009. He's had nine reported surgeries -- including procedures on his knee, forearm and ankle -- since his final year at the University of Arizona.