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redeyechicago.com

Two-way TE Bennett a perfect fit

Dan Pompei

On the NFL

3:43 PM CDT, March 12, 2013

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Martellus Bennett makes perfect sense for the Chicago Bears as their primary free-agent signing and automatically makes their offense more potent.

The beauty of Bennett -- who has reached an agreement in principle with the Bears, a source told the Tribune -- is that he is a two-way tight end who can help the passing game and running game. He should help make Matt Forte better as well as making Jay Cutler better.

He can run, catch and block. Bennett’s presence on the field won’t be a tip-off to run or pass.

At 6-foot-6, 265, Bennett has excellent size.  That will help him create mismatches against smaller defensive backs and linebackers, and it will help him in pass protection.

He won’t give the Bears the same kind of dynamic receiving threat that Jared Cook would have, but Bennett still can play a big role as a receiver. He has the speed to stress defenses down the middle, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say he should be the team’s second-leading receiver after Brandon Marshall.

Scouts say Bennett was an underachiever in college at Texas A&M, and he also was an underachiever in his first four NFL seasons with the Cowboys. A second-round pick in 2008 and a one-time NBA prospect, Bennett made headlines early in his career mostly for his lack of commitment and his colorful personality.

But NFL teams have noticed a maturation in Bennett. Last season, his first with the Giants, was his best. He caught 55 passes for 626 yards.

Bennett is only 26 and his best football should be ahead of him.

dpompei @tribune.com

Twitter@danpompei