Buffalo Bills @buffalobills
🚨 TRADE ALERT 🚨 We've agreed to acquire WR Kelvin Benjamin from the Panthers for our 2018 3rd and 7th round picks. #GoBills https://t.co/wXqy4Ukr9b2017-10-31 20:31:01
As Mike Rodak of ESPN.com noted, Benjamin will count for $529,000 against Buffalo's cap this season and $8.5 million against the cap in 2018.
Benjamin, 26, has caught 32 passes for 475 yards and two touchdowns this season.
As ESPN's Field Yates hinted, the Bills have an obvious need for an upgrade at wide receiver:
Field Yates @FieldYates
Bills WRs so far this season: Receptions: 45 (fewest in NFL) Receiving yards: 594 (fewest in NFL) Enter, Kelvin Benjamin.2017-10-31 20:24:02
Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus questioned whether Benjamin will be the right fit with quarterback Tyrod Taylor, however:
Sam Monson @PFF_Sam
Not sure that's a fantastic match with Tyrod's typically conservative play. Will need to put the ball in danger more to maximize Benjamin2017-10-31 20:38:44
Benjamin is the second wideout Buffalo has acquired via trade in the past three months after it sent cornerback Ronald Darby to the Philadelphia Eagles for Jordan Matthews and a third-round pick in August. That same month, the Bills also traded wideout Sammy Watkins and a sixth-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a second-round selection.
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports and Peter Schrager of Fox Sports noted Benjamin's connections to Buffalo's front office and coaching staff:
Chris Trapasso @ChrisTrapasso
Re: Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott much more familiar with Benjamin than they were with Watkins. And KB has size BUF's new regime loves.2017-10-31 20:27:46
Peter Schrager @PSchrags
Obvious connections on Benjamin deal... Bills GM Brandon Beane spent 18 years with Panthers, worked under Hurney, was on staff that drafted.2017-10-31 20:34:06
Meanwhile, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported former Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman wanted to extend Benjamin before he was fired, a move that some in the front office reportedly didn't want. Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk further elaborated:
Darin Gantt @daringantt
Marty Hurney doesn’t share Dave Gettleman’s fascination with big WRs, so probably wasn’t going to extend Benjamin (if he stays in the job).2017-10-31 20:28:33
Darin Gantt @daringantt
And while the idea of trading Benjamin sounds like heresy, they kind of went 15-1 and to the Super Bowl without him so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯2017-10-31 20:31:41
Benjamin also walked off the practice field last Wednesday without the training staff, per Person, and didn't practice Thursday. He said he was frustrated that he was still experiencing pain in his surgically repaired knee, according to Person. However, Person noted he had never before seen an injured player leave without the training staff.
A few Panthers players, including Thomas Davis and Captain Munnerlyn, didn't appear thrilled with the trade:
Thomas Davis @ThomasDavisSDTM
Captain Munnerlyn @captain_41
Golden State Warriors star and Charlotte native Steph Curry didn't understand the deal, either:
Stephen Curry @StephenCurry30
Please help me understand this madness.... https://t.co/lds3DE9ujf2017-10-31 21:03:35
But the Panthers aren't devoid of weapons without Benjamin. Devin Funchess has taken a positive step forward this season, while dual-threat rookies Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel are threats in the passing game, too. Add in the eventual return of tight end Greg Olsen, who can return from injured reserve as early as Week 12, and quarterback Cam Newton hasn't been left with a bare cupboard in the aftermath of the Benjamin trade.