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Panthers Trade Kelvin Benjamin To The Buffalo Bills

Credit Jeff Siner of The Charlotte Observer

On Tuesday, the Carolina Panthers traded away their No. 1 wide receiver to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a third-round pick and a seventh-round pick in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft. This seems to be an odd move for the Panthers

considering they are 5-3 and are in the middle of a playoff push. For the Bills, they just continue to add to their receiving core and gave quarterback Tyrod Taylor another weapon on offense.

The third-round pick that the Panthers received was their original pick, not the one they acquired from Philadelphia for the trade for Ronald Darby earlier this season. The seventh-round pick was acquired back in July with a trade with the Los Angeles Chargers for quarterback Cardale Jones. This is the seventh trade Brandon Beane has made since being hired in May.

Bills’ general manager Brandon Beane made a statement on Tuesday morning, “You’re always looking to make a move to win today and to win tomorrow, and I think this answers both of those.” He also made a statement about his talks with Panthers’ GM Marty Hurney when the Bills reached out about Benjamin. “Marty and I talk every so often. We spoke a little bit [Monday] and then this morning via text. But I really didn’t sense at practice [Tuesday afternoon] that anything was going to go down. And then we did circle back up around 2 [p.m.] and again around 3:25 and it got serious by 3:40, knowing we had 20 minutes to agree on the deal.” Beane went on to say he was very familiar with Benjamin and scouted him a lot back when he was in the draft.

Benjamin is joining a 5-2 Bills team who was thought to would have been a “tanking” team when the season started. Benjamin will be a deep ball target for Tyrod Taylor as they will look to end a 17-year playoff drought and attempt to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

Tight End Charles Clay, who has been out since October 8th due to a knee injury, currently leads Buffalo in receiving yards with 258. However, the Bills wide receivers rank last in the NFL with just 45 catches for 594 yards. The Bills traded away Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams earlier this season and have since had Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones as their top wide receivers for Taylor. Benjamin will clearly jump in as the new No. 1. Beane believes Benjamin will add “size and experience” to the Bills’ offense, adding, “When he’s covered, he’s still open. If you watch a lot of his catches, he’s outsizing [the defender].”

It is still undecided if the Benjamin will play this coming Thursday night as the Bills take on the New York Jets. Beane said that it will be up to coach Sean McDermott and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.

Benjamin is a free agent this upcoming off-season. Carolina could have excerised the fifth-year option in Benjamin’s rookie contract, which would have paid him $8.5 million in 2018. The Bills have the option to do this too when the time comes.

So far, this season, Benjamin had 32 catches and two touchdowns for the Panthers, and he led the team with 475 yards through the first eight games of the season. The Panthers will now have Devin Funchess as their No.1 wide receiver option. Russell Shepard and rookie Curtis Samuel will see more playing time and will be leaned on more for the remaining of the season. With a run game who hasn’t seemed to got it together, maybe these young players can make an impact for this offense.

Just 48 hours prior to the trade, Cam Newton said, “When you want people in your foxhole, Kelvin Benjamin is the person that you want.” So, I bet Cam is upset over this trade. An offense who has already not lived up to expectations just lost a significant redzone threat. The only optimism for Panthers’ fans, in 2015 when the Panthers made the Super Bowl, Kelvin Benjamin didn’t play a single game as he got hurt with an ACL tear.

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