On Oct. 31, minutes before the 4 P.M. trade deadline the Buffalo Bills acquired wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a third round pick and a seventh round pick in the 2018 draft.
Kelvin Benjamin, a Florida State graduate, has three and a half years of NFL experience under his belt. In the 2014 season, Benjamin had 1008 yards on 73 receptions and nine touchdowns. His numbers that season were good enough to set franchise records in receptions by a rookie, receiving yards by a rookie, and number of touchdown receptions by a rookie among others. Benjamin missed the 2015 season with a torn ACL, but rebounded nicely in the 2016 season by posting 63 receptions for 941 yards with seven touchdowns.
Before getting traded, Benjamin led the Panthers in receiving yards with 475, was tied for second on the team in touchdowns with two, and had 32 receptions. If he were playing on the Bills the entire season and earned the same numbers, he’d have nearly double the amount of yards of current leading receiver Charles Clay and be in second in total receptions behind LeSean McCoy.
Benjamin is a deep threat, which is what the Bills receiving unit desperately needed. Benjamin’s receiving yards per reception average is 14.8. Only wide receivers Deonte Thompson and Brandon Tate can say they have a better receiving yards per reception average, with 16.1 and 16.3 respectively.
The acquisition of Benjamin is the Bills sending a message. They are going all-in to try and break the famous (or infamous) 17 year playoff drought.
A type of move like this is very uncharacteristic of the current front office regime. Brandon Beane, Buffalo Bills General Manager, has made it clear in the past that any big time acquisitions like this would be out of the ordinary. He also made it clear that they were going to build through the draft, so for Beane to give up two draft picks to get someone of Benjamin’s capabilities means that he thinks the team’s 5-3 start isn’t just a flash in the pan. Beane and everyone around him believe this team has what it takes to get to the promised land.
After sitting out the Nov. 2 tilt against the New York Jets, Benjamin is set to make his debut this Sunday when the Bills host the Saints.