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Benjamin has recorded 23 receptions for 354 yards and one touchdown in 12 games so far in 2018.
The 27-year-old Florida State product made headlines in August when he told Tim Graham of The Athletic (via Nick Carboni of WCNC) his failure to produce consistently in Carolina was because quarterback Cam Newton wasn’t accurate and lacked knowledge:
Nick Carboni @NickCarboniWCNC
Former #Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin not holding back on organization, Cam, when talking to the @TheAthletic https://t.co/pa2sMo0VXm https://t.co/7TcUP5zpsO
However, the 2014 first-round pick of Carolina lacks speed and struggles to create separation in the secondary, limiting his value to using his 6’5”, 245-pound frame to win jump balls. His four touchdowns since the start of 2017 showcase his limited impact in the red zone, too.
Pro Football Focus grades him as the NFL’s 109th-best wide receiver this season.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported “nothing happened here or went wrong off the field” leading to the release. It’s just a move necessitated by the Bills beginning to look toward the future given their 4-8 record.
Benjamin will land on waivers, but it’s unlikely another team is going to claim him given the remaining portion of his $8.5 million contract for 2018. Any interested teams are likely going to wait until he hits the free-agent market when they’ll be able to negotiate a smaller salary for the rest of the campaign.
The veteran wideout could still provide niche value as an outside target on third down and in the red zone as part of a better overall offense. He did catch 16 touchdowns across his first two years in Carolina.
His lack of explosiveness off the line limits his upside, though. So no team should make the same mistake Buffalo did and expect him to serve as a No. 1 receiver moving forward.