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Bears Trade Martellus Bennett To Patriots

By Chris Emma--

(CBS) The Bears are trading tight end Martellus Bennett to the Patriots in a swap of late-round picks in April's draft, a source confirmed. The story was first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN on Wednesday evening.

The Bears are receiving a fourth-round pick (127th overall) from the Patriots, the Tribune's Brad Biggs reported, and also dealing away the sixth-round pick (204th overall) that New England sent to Chicago in the Jon Bostic trade last September. Essentially, the Bears move up 77 draft spots in the deal. Chicago also gets $5.2 million in cap relief.

The Bears confirmed the trade Thursday morning.

"We will continue to pursue all avenues to make our team better as we prepare for the 2016 season," general manager Ryan Pace said.  "In a perfect world a trade is a win-win for both sides, and we believe there is upside to all parties involved in this deal. We were able to acquire a higher pick to help us continue to build our team. We wish Martellus nothing but the best as he continues his career in New England."

Bennett, 29, has been with the Bears for four seasons. Sources have long indicated that Bennett would be traded this offseason, with Chicago feeling that his outspoken nature had run its course.

Bennett had a career-best 90 catches in 2014, earning his first career invitation to the Pro Bowl. He played just 11 games in 2015 before being placed on season-ending IR with a fracture to his ribs.

Ever since the season ended, Bears general manager Ryan Pace had been cautious when addressing the topic of Bennett, attempting to maintain his value.

"We got a pretty good picture of him, as a player and a person," Pace said in the Bears' season-ending press conference.

The Patriots plan to place Bennett alongside Rob Gronkowski and recreate a talented tight end tandem.

The Bears on Monday re-signed Zach Miller and Rob Housler, who join Khari Lee and Gannon Sinclair as the team's tight ends on the roster.

Chris Emma covers the Chicago sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670 and like his Facebook page.

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