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Travis Benjamin to Chargers: Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 3:  Travis Benjamin #11 of the Cleveland Browns carries the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured Columnist IVDecember 29, 2016

Wide receiver Travis Benjamin reached an agreement to sign with the San Diego Chargers on Wednesday, the team announced.

Rand Getlin of the NFL Network first reported that Benjamin would be heading to San Diego.  

"I'm proud to say Travis Benjamin is a San Diego Charger," Benjamin said, per the team. "I promise I'm going to be all I can be."

The Chargers shared a picture of Benjamin signing his new deal on Thursday: 

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the contract is for four years, $24 million with $13 million guaranteed and $18 million coming in the first three years.

Benjamin, 26, had his best year for the Cleveland Browns in 2015, setting career highs in catches (68), targets (125), receiving yards (966) and touchdowns (five). He became one of Cleveland's top offensive weapons, pairing with tight end Gary Barnidge (79 receptions for 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns) to give the team legitimate options in the passing game.

The move is somewhat of a surprise. Not only was he important to the Browns last year, but Benjamin told Pat McManamon of ESPN.com in early December that he and Cleveland were "75 to 80 percent on the road to completing an extension."

Cleveland's loss is San Diego's gain. While Benjamin isn't an elite option at the position, he's a solid player and established himself as a dangerous deep threat. While he isn't as dynamic down the field as DeSean Jackson or Odell Beckham Jr., his ability to stretch the defense opens up underneath routes for his teammates.  

In San Diego, Benjamin will step into the No. 2 receiver role behind the talented Keenan Allen and give the team a deep threat it has lacked. That will give Philip Rivers a dangerous one-two punch at wide receiver to go along with Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green at tight end and Danny Woodhead in the backfield.

Rivers will certainly be the most talented quarterback Benjamin will have worked with in his career.

Cian Fahey of Football Outsiders believes Benjamin can take the next step, given the right set of circumstances:

Certainly, he'll be expected to build upon his breakout 2015 campaign. San Diego is betting on him doing just that. 


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