In a day that saw blockbuster trades of perhaps the largest proportion in NFL history, perhaps the biggest happened between the Bills and Panthers. Trade values seemed to be at an all time low, as Jay Ajayi was acquired by the Eagles for a 4th round pick and possible franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo was acquired by the 49ers for just a 2nd round pick. The Bills were already set with a plethora of draft picks for 2018, so trading a 3rd and 7th round pick for a potential #1 wide receiver of the future seemed like nothing. The Bills already sit at 5-2, in the perfect spot to make a run at least at a wild card spot, and maybe even mess around and keep pace with New England. So what exactly does a Kelvin Benjamin acquisition mean for a team starving to end a long playoff drought?
At 6 foot 5, 243 pounds, 4th year wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has already been a force in the NFL. Being Cam Newton‘s #1 option at wide receiver, transitioning to another mobile quarterback like Tyrod Taylor should not be an issue. In his career, Benjamin has caught 168 passes for over 2,400 yards, even while missing the entire 2015 season due to a torn ACL. Besides the aforementioned 2015 season, Benjamin has never missed a game, something the Bills desperately need given a depleted receiving core. His big play ability is seen in his career average of 14.4 yards a game. Although it has been somewhat buried this year, Tyrod Taylor’s deep ball ability is towards the top of the NFL, and in Benjamin he finally gets a threat. Even if Benjamin is just that, a threat, it opens up routes underneath to guys like Zay Jones and Jordan Matthews, especially with the absence of Taylor’s favorite target, TE Charles Clay. No corner in the league has fun matching up with a 6 foot 5, 243 pound beast that can also run with the league’s best. Kelvin Benjamin can fit in perfectly with the Bills system and in their future if he is willing to buy in. In a locker room that seems especially close, look for veterans LeSean McCoy and Kyle Williams to make sure Benjamin is buying in and also wanting to win like the rest of them. Oh, and it does help that Kelvin Benjamin caught the game winning touchdown in a National Championship game against Auburn in 2014.
Going into Week 9, the Bills leader in receiving yards is TE Charles Clay with 258 yards, followed by RB LeSean McCoy with 242. The Bills get the worst WR production in the NFL, and their leader at wide receiver is Jordan Matthews with 193 yards. Kelvin Benjamin has already gone for 475 yards this season, almost double the amount of any Bills players. The Bills have said there is a 50-50 chance Benjamin plays Thursday night against the Jets, but if he does look for mainly curl routes and maybe a couple deep balls. In a year seen by many as a rebuild, the front office of the Bills led by Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott have made one thing clear: the Buffalo Bills want to win now.
(Picture credits: NFL.com)
Luke Owens is a freshman at Oswego State in the broadcasting program. He hopes to one day host his own TV and radio shows, while also announcing games. He roots for the Yankees, Bills, Magic, Sabres and Syracuse. Follow him on Twitter @LuketheKid3 and be sure to check out his podcast, Off the Wall with Luke Owens on Soundcloud.