In a stunning move, the Carolina Panthers shipped wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin off to Buffalo for two picks; a third-rounder and a seventh-rounder. The deal came together three minutes before the NFL trade deadline, which was 4 PM ET on October 31st.
What a great way to celebrate trick or treat Halloween … I love the move @kelvinbenjamin welcome fam!!
— Lesean McCoy (@CutonDime25) October 31, 2017
While his new teammates in upstate New York are lauding the move, the Panthers’ franchise quarterback is probably less than thrilled.
When you see Kelvin Benjamin was traded. pic.twitter.com/lJBOTYs6Ep
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) October 31, 2017
Cam has been a vocal advocate of Benjamin’s since the 6’5, 240 lb receiver was drafted by Carolina in the first round back in 2014. In fact, Newton was bigging up Benjamin after the Panthers’ Week 8 win over division rival Tampa Bay just two days ago.
“He’s a person that’s an unbelievable teammate. He comes to work each and every day.
“He may not be the talkative person all the time, but I guarantee you, when you want people in your foxhole, Kelvin Benjamin is the person you want.”
While Benjamin’s numbers haven’t been stellar this year, the move has less to do with his production on the field than the $8.4 million (all guaranteed) the Panthers would have owed Benjamin next year.
Panthers picked up the 5h-yr option on Kelvin Benjamin, making his cap hit $8,459,000 next season if #Bills keep him. Only $1M base this yr.
— Nick Veronica (@NickVeronica) October 31, 2017
If there was ever proof that football is a cut-throat business, here it is. Kelvin Benjamin was Cam’s favorite receiver, and the Panthers’ front office exiled him to Buffalo at the eleventh hour.
Had Cam’s stock not taken a big hit when he mocked that female reporter a few weeks ago, he may have had sufficient purchase on the franchise to de facto veto a Benjamin trade. A quarterback recovering from a PR crisis curries less favor than one held in high esteem by the public, unfortunately for Benjamin.
There is a silver in that Buffalo is actually good this year; the Bills are more football team and less Gulag than we’re accustomed to seeing. At 5-2, they have a shot win the AFC East, a division the NFL usually just awards to the Patriots at the beginning of the season.