Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

31 Oct 2017

Panthers Trade Kelvin Benjamin to Bills

The Carolina Panthers have traded wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for third- and seventh-round picks in next year's draft.

The trade fills an obvious need for Buffalo, who find themselves in the thick of the playoff chase at 5-2 despite one of the NFL's worst depth chart at wide receiver. Running back LeSean McCoy leads the team in targets and receptions. Second-round rookie Zay Jones is second on the team with 37 targets, but has only caught 10 of those passes.

Carolina's side of the deal is more puzzling. At 5-3, they're a serious playoff contender to, but their top three wide receivers are now Devin Funchess, Russell Shepard, and Curtis Samuel. Add in Greg Olsen's injury at tight end and Cam Newton's cupboard is even more bare. Looks like Christian McCaffrey is going to have to catch a dozen passes a game, I guess.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 31 Oct 2017

20 comments, Last at 02 Nov 2017, 8:52pm by The Ninjalectual


by Parmenides :: Tue, 10/31/2017 - 6:21pm

Oh, thank god. I've never understood the love for Benjamin. He's slow, not quick, and can barely catch. He can't separate. Not sure why the bills wanted him but ok.

by tjb :: Tue, 10/31/2017 - 6:37pm

All that may be true and he will still be the best WR on the Bills by a country mile.

I saw a lot of complaints that he takes forever to get open but that just makes him a perfect match for Tyrod Taylor taking forever to throw the ball.

by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 10/31/2017 - 6:54pm

More than the Dolphins got for Ajayi. Who also deosn't even get an XP. Not an outcome I would have predicted even a week ago. Sure, Ajayi had been having a miserable year, but he was a beast last year behind a pretty meh line.

by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/31/2017 - 7:08pm

You know what, you're right. I'll get that up now. That deal got lost in all the other insanity of the past 24 hours.

by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 10/31/2017 - 9:49pm

Thanks, Vince.

by Mike B. In Va :: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 9:29am

Given what I've seen of the Panther's WR corps this year, I'm not really understanding why they'd make this move.

by ChrisS :: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 10:12am

I don't follow the Panthers very closely but it does not seem that they value WR's very highly. Their top 3 targeted WR's in 2013 were not on the team in 2014.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 10:51am

Their #2 or possibly even #1 WR at this point is Russell Shepard, who played for the Bucs for a few years. Phenomenal special teams player, everybody loves the guy, but the Bucs clearly had major issues in terms of finding WRs for several years; the reason Cameron Brate and Adam Humphries got playing time is Vincent Jackson got old, other players got injured, so they had to turn to a whole bunch of UDFAs to try to fill in. Shepard was on that team, as a WR, for four years, when the team was desperately needing #2/#3/#4 guys to take the pressure off of Mike Evans.

He had 30 catches in four years. 23 of those were last year. In 2015, when the team was throwing to the corpse of Vincent Jackson, injured Louis Murphy, UDFAs Brate and Humphries, and people like Brandon Myers and Donteea Dye (he of the 36.7% catch rate), Shepard had three catches.

If Russell Shepard wasn't good enough to crack that lineup, I'm, shall we say, less than entirely enthusiastic about his prospects as a professional football player.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 8:46pm

You're talking about stuff that happened several years ago. Players develop and get better, you know. Remember Brandon Lloyd coming in at #1 or 2 in WR DVOA when he was with the Broncos? He was terrible earlier in his career too.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 10:44am

I don't think Benjamin is a great WR by any stretch; he runs sloppy routes, has bad hands, and shows up in the offseason looking like a nose tackle. That being said, he's at least big and athletic enough to where he has a big catch radius, and he's able to position himself open pretty well. He's the kind of guy who doesn't need pinpoint accuracy from a QB to be effective, and he's worked really well with Cam Newton. From the Panthers' standpoint, this falls somewhere between "idiotic", "moronic", and "hiring your old cap-killing GM after he'd worked at a radio station for a while."

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 11:14am

I've been mystified by the actions of Buffalo, Carolina, and Houston this year.

I get tanking for draft picks, but you usually don't see teams in projected playoff spots doing it.

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 1:12pm

has atema ever tanked for picks?

by justanothersteve :: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 3:51pm

Wasn't that what the "Suck for Luck" year in Indy was about? Other than that, I only remember teams in other sports doing this.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 3:58pm

Please, please.

Scku for Lcku.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 4:34pm

Tampa sat all sorts of players in the last game of the 2014 season in order to keep the #1 overall pick to get Winston. It was an obvious tank job.

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 5:59pm

is popssibiltu about tb year bvefore Winston. would have to study lineup week by week. that Buccs team was nto one I paid particular attentoopn to.

not sure clots actually tanked. tema won 2 times in last 3 weeks. at one poiut had same amount of wins as Vikings. 2-13 colts vs 2-12 vikes. then vikes wona few days later to get to 3-12. not sure who had tiebreaker . possibility colts secured #1 pick when Vikes won week 16 game. making weeks 17 tilts possibly irreelveant. but actually was chance Colts were gonna get pick #2. Vikes had taken c. ponder round 1 prior spring btu if vikes had #1 pick could have taken luck or traded pick to some other ream. Point is, colts if were really tanking did terrible job of it. never shodul have won a second game and put top pick at risk.

Tihnk more likely Colts just stunk when P. Manning got injured. Tnaking very very strong accusation. Sucking bvecauusse you just suck ios entirely differnet thing

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 11/02/2017 - 8:52pm

Agreed, those Colts probably couldn't have won more if they tried, and they probably did. But the Rams had the #2 pick that year, not the Vikings. They traded it to the squirrels because RGIII was sooooo much better that Kirk Cousins

by Mike B. In Va :: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 5:45pm

To be fair, Buffalo made their other big trades in the preseason, when people were predicting they'd open the season 1-5 or 1-6.

So, yeah, that didn't happen. As one of the Bills board put it, they essentially traded Ronald Darby and Cardale Jones for Kelvin Benjamin and Jordan Matthews. Odd way of going about rebuilding the receiver corps, but...

by panthersnbraves :: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 5:41pm

Serious note: Greg Olson is the True #1 for the Panthers, and he will be back in a couple weeks.

Hilarious note: "can't seem to get rid of him" WR#5 Brenton Bersin has been seen hanging around BofA.

by Mike B. In Va :: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 5:55pm

Well, the Panthers were the originators of the "Inanimate Carbon Rod". I guess we could say this is continuity?