Kelvin Benjamin Traded to Bills; Panthers Receive 3rd- and 7th-Round Draft Picks

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2017

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 08: Kelvin Benjamin #13 of the Carolina Panthers warms up prior to the start of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 8, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. Carolina Panthers defeated the Detroit Lions 27-24. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers traded wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday afternoon in exchange for a third- and seventh-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Bills announced.

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: 

Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus questioned whether Benjamin will be the right fit with quarterback Tyrod Taylor, however: 

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: 

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:

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:

Golden State Warriors star and Charlotte native Steph Curry didn't understand the deal, either: 

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.

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