The Buffalo Bills released receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes, the team announced on Tuesday.
Buffalo acquired Benjamin, the 28th overall draft pick in 2014, at the trade deadline in 2017, but in 18 games with the team he had just 39 catches for 571 yards and two touchdowns.
It’s a good thing Benjamin got away from Cam Newton.
The Bills gave up third- and seventh-round picks at last year’s trade deadline for Benjamin.
There was a stretch this season when Benjamin seemed to be a solid part of the passing offense – in Weeks 6-9, he played over 70 percent of the offensive snaps. But over the past three games his snap count dropped: in Week 10 against the Jets he played 37 of 73 snaps (51 percent), in Week 11 against Jacksonville it was just 23 of 58 (40 percent), and last Sunday in Miami it was 42 of 72 (58 percent).
He is on the final year of his rookie contact; his fifth-year option meant his salary for this season is $8.46 million.
Playing with Carolina ‘a bad fit’
During training camp in August, Benjamin did an interview with Tim Graham of The Athletic Buffalo and trashed the Panthers and more specifically Newton.
Asked to assess his three-year career since leaving Florida State, Benjamin said, “Looking back on it, I should’ve just been drafted by somebody else. I should’ve never went to Carolina. Truly, I just think Carolina was bad for me. It was a bad fit from the get-go.
“If you would’ve put me with any other quarterback, let’s be real, you know what I’m saying? Any other accurate quarterback like Rodgers or Eli Manning or Big Ben — anybody! — quarterbacks with knowledge, that know how to place a ball and give you a better chance to catch the ball. It just felt like I wasn’t in that position.”
His comments led to this animated exchange between the two during the pregame of a preseason contest:
It’s true that Newton hasn’t been the most accurate quarterback in the league, but it’s not like he wasn’t trying to get the ball to Benjamin. In Benjamin’s rookie season, Newton targeted him 145 times and Benjamin recorded just 73 catches, or just half. In 2016 (Benjamin missed all of 2015 to a torn ACL), Newton targeted him 118 times and Benjamin had 63 catches.
We’re supposed to chalk all of those missed receptions up to Newton?
This season, Benjamin had been targeted 62 times by Bills quarterbacks, with just 23 receptions, meaning he caught just 37 percent of the passes thrown his way.
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