Kelvin Benjamin unphased by trade to the Bills, understood offensive changes
Kelvin Benjamin saw the writing on the wall that led to the Panthers trading him to the Bills. Benjamin was just the latest former Panther that Bills head coach Sean McDermott has added to his roster. Joe Webb and Mike Tolbert had already followed McDermott, but many were shocked when Benjamin — the Panthers’ No. 1 receiver — was sent to the Bills. Benjamin was not among that crowd.
According to ESPN’s Mike Rodak, Benjamin told reporters on Monday (his first media appearance with the Bills) that Carolina’s offense was “heading in a different direction.” Benjamin didn’t seem to feel that that direction fit his style, so it made sense that he was the one that was dealt. Furthermore, the Bills’ obvious need of size on the outside (and their relatively unexpected competitiveness this season) made him a quality destination. All of that, in addition to McDermott being the head honcho in Buffalo, made things pretty clear.
Benjamin will go up against a familiar foe on Sunday, as the Saints will travel to Buffalo to play the Bills. Benjamin played in a division with the Saints for the first few years of his career, and he was knocked out of their game against each other earlier in the season when cornerback Ken Crawley took him down from behind. It’s a good team to get his feet wet against, as the Saints have proven to be a formidable pass defense in recent weeks.
Benjamin was drafted by the Panthers in the first round of the 2014 draft, a stacked receiver class that has had several pass-catchers relocated. Sammy Watkins went from the Bills to the Rams, Brandin Cooks from the Saints to the Patriots and, of course, Benjamin’s move to Buffalo. Of the five receivers selected in the first round in that draft, only Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. have remained with their original teams.
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