FOXBOROUGH — A week after being suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, the Patriots shipped defensive end Michael Bennett to the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday afternoon, according to an NFL source.
The Patriots will receive a seventh-round pick in 2021 in return, though the compensation could turn into a sixth-round selection based on how Bennett performs with the Cowboys.
The 11-year veteran, who said Wednesday he “liked playing here,’’ will return to New England Nov. 24 when the Patriots host the Cowboys.
The 33-year-old Bennett has now been traded three times in 19 months. The Seahawks sent him to the Eagles in March 2018, and the Patriots traded for him this past March.
This is the second trade this week for the defending Super Bowl champions, who acquired receiver Mohamed Sanu from the Falcons for a second-round pick on Tuesday.
The Bennett trade will clear about $2.6 million in cap space, allowing the Patriots some flexibility should they decide to make more moves. The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday.
Bennett was at practice Thursday and seemed in a good mood in the locker room, wearing headphones and singing quietly.
Bennett had a “philosophical disagreement” with defensive line coach Bret Bielema that led to his suspension. He returned to practice on Wednesday after missing the 33-0 win over the Jets on Monday night.
“It’s America. You can voice your opinion about how you feel about certain situations. That’s what I did,’’ Bennett told reporters Wednesday.
Bennett said he “didn’t take away nothing” from the suspension.
“[I] lost money,’’ he said. “What am I supposed to take away from that? There’s no love lost. It’s just how it is.’’
Bennett’s playing time has decreased as the season has gone on in his first year in New England, and that likely is one of the reasons he has appeared unhappy.
Bennett played a season-high 39 snaps in the season-opening win over the Steelers. He played in just 11 of a possible 50 defensive snaps in the win over the Giants.
He had five tackles and 2.5 sacks while playing 133 of 374 defensive snaps (36 percent) in six games.
“It’s always an adjustment when you’re not playing, just getting used to it,’’ Bennett said about his dwindling playing time. “But we’re winning, and that’s the most important thing for me as a teammate. But I think as an individual, you always want to play more and make some more plays. So, it’s always that great balance between both.’’
The Patriots’ defense ranks first in every major statistical category, including points allowed (27), opponents’ yards per play (3.96), opponents’ passer rating (34.6), opponents’ third-down conversion rate (14.3), opponents’ red-zone scoring (16.7), takeaways (22), and interceptions (18).
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Phillip Dorsett has been through it all. He’s seen it all.
As the Patriots’ receiving corps went through several incarnations since training camp with players coming and going, Dorsett has been like a metronome, a steady presence, just ticking along all season long.
He’s seen Demaryius Thomas, Antonio Brown, and now Josh Gordon come and go this season. All the departures have been unexpected.
“I think everyone was surprised,’’ Dorsett said Thursday when asked about Gordon, whom the team placed on injured reserve Wednesday. “It’s tough because obviously he’s a good friend of mine. I don’t have any words, honestly.
“Obviously, he’s a big target. He’s a had a lot of production here. But it’s a next-man-up mentality here. We all know that. At the end of the day, it’s football. Things happen and the next guy has to step up, come in, and be able to replace [the player who left].’’
That next man up is Sanu, and Dorsett believes he’ll fit right in.
“It’s only been one practice and one walkthrough, but I watched him when he was in Atlanta and Cincinnati, and even when he was at Rutgers,’’ Dorsett said. “He’s smart. I know he’s going to be able to pick [the offense] up. I think he’s going to be a good player for us.’’
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Sanu participated in the team’s shells-and-sweats session on Thursday. He chatted with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels during stretching before he headed off to individual drills.
Sanu has jumped up the depth chart without playing a game for his new team, and likely sits right behind top target Julian Edelman.
Right guard Shaq Mason (ankle) and tight end Ryan Izzo (concussion) were in attendance after they were listed as DNPs during Wednesday’s walkthrough. Izzo participated in stretching but was listed as DNP again. Mason was listed as limited.
Fellow tight end Matt LaCosse (knee/DNP) was the lone active roster not spotted at practice.
Eric Tomlinson was at practice. The team originally announced it was going to release the tight end Wednesday but reversed course when Gordon was placed on IR.
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The Ravens are signing defensive lineman Ufomba Kamalu off New England’s practice squad, according to a league source. Kamalu was not at Thursday’s practice. The Ravens also signed safety Jordan Richards, whom the Patriots cut when they signed Justin Bethel, whom the Ravens cut . . . According to ESPN, the Patriots converted $1.75 million of Mason’s base salary into a signing bonus, creating $1.4 million in space to help fit Sanu under the cap . . . Rex Burkhead (foot), Patrick Chung (heel, chest), Edelman (chest), and Gunner Olszewski (hamstring) also were limited at practice . . . Dorsett (hamstring) was removed from the injury report.