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Packers intend to go after Martellus Bennett's signing bonus

New Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett is expected to play Sunday night for his new team, which is a development in itself. After being unceremoniously dumped by the Packers last week, then dumped on by Packers players on social media, it is a fitting way for a bizarre week to end.

But the saga of the failed free-agent signing that was Bennett isn't close to over.

Sources say the Packers do intend to go after Bennett's signing bonus, a move they telegraphed by waiving him with the failure to disclose designation. It's unclear if they would seek repayment of the entire $6.3 million signing bonus or the $4.2 million prorated portion in the three-year, $21-million contract. Rules allow a team to battle for the signing bonus if a player had a pre-existing condition before a signing, assuming the club did not know about it.

They have not filed the grievance, but have more than a month to do so.

On Instagram stories this week, Bennett alleged "the Packers examined my shoulder on my visit March 10 and cleared it. ... Every week we do a body evaluation sheet in the weight and pretty much every week I circled my shoulder. I just kept playing but it got worse."

Bennett's injury is a torn rotator cuff, sources say, as well as other labrum damage in his shoulder. He said he planned to have surgery when he was with the Packers -- based on recommendations from several doctors -- but that has changed now.

Bennett also criticized team doctor Pat McKenzie, the notoriously conservative doctor who Bennett said pushed him to play injured. For that, Bennett was crushed by numerous Packers, including Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson. The notion that McKenzie implored Bennett to play through an injury is unfathomable to those who know him, as he has a strong reputation for being cautious about player safety.

Going after a player's money is something that is often unpopular in the locker room, but judging from the tenor of comments about Bennett -- and several Packers players feel he bailed on them when Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone -- this does not seem like an unpopular move.

The issue is when Bennett had the torn rotator cuff. By virtue of their designation, the Packers allege he had it before he joined the team, and that he did not tell them. They claim they learned about it Tuesday during the team's bye week. Bennett has a different story.

One source said there is proof in the form of a medical test to show the exact injury Bennett had in New England in 2016, though the team was not made aware of what it was or how serious. When the grievance is filed, the Packers' stance on the issue will become clearer.

Either way, his time in Green Bay is long over, and we may see his career restart with the Pats tonight.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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