- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys did not expect to retain Martellus Bennett as a free agent nor were they trying very hard to do so, but now they have to prepare to play him twice in 2012.
Bennett has joined the New York Giants with a one-year, $2.5 million deal, viewing the Cowboys’ NFC East rival as the best spot to become a No. 1 tight end after spending the last four seasons as Jason Witten’s backup.
The Giants had a need with Travis Beckum and Jake Ballard suffering major knee injuries in Super Bowl XLVI and Bennett moved to the top of the tight end list after a number of players were re-signed before free agency began.
In four seasons, Bennett, a second-round pick in 2008, caught 85 passes for 846 yards with four touchdowns, all of which came in his rookie year. A solid blocker, Bennett was never able to become a regular part of the passing game and he was unable to take advantage of the limited opportunities he received.
The Cowboys were ready to move on from Bennett and have spent part of the day visiting with free agent Kellen Davis, who had five touchdown catches last year for Chicago. Another possible target, John Carlson, was signed by Minnesota earlier in the day.
It's the second time in four years the Giants have signed a Dallas free agent. They signed defensive end Chris Canty in 2009 to a seven-year, $42 million deal.