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The 6’5″, 245-pound Benjamin was released by the Buffalo Bills on December 4 and went unclaimed on waivers.
Buffalo acquired the 27-year-old veteran from the Carolina Panthers in October 2017, but he couldn’t find success in Western New York.
After posting a pedestrian 16 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown in six games with the Bills in 2017, the bottom fell out in 2018 as he caught just 23 passes on 62 targets for 354 yards and one touchdown in 12 games. His 37.1 percent catch rate with the Bills ranked third-worst in the league among all qualified pass-catchers at the time of his release.
Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News called him a “big-time bust, in every sense of the term,” and Benjamin’s perceived lack of effort was noted by numerous sources, including the Democrat & Chronicle’s Sal Maiorana:
Sal Maiorana @salmaiorana
Kelvin Benjamin was one of the most disappointing players I can ever recall covering. I can’t remember a guy who seemed to care less about his craft.
Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic offered a different perspective on Benjamin’s tenure, noting that he “certainly underperformed during his time in Buffalo. But some of those factors—two coordinators, six quarterbacks, injuries—were out of his control. Others, like his body language and effort, were well within his control.”
Fairburn also wrote that some people inside the building had no issues with Benjamin’s effort and that a torn meniscus suffered during his second game of his Bills tenure in 2017 hindered his success.
Benjamin’s NFL career started with much promise. The Panthers took him 28th overall in the 2014 NFL draft and immediately planted him as a starting wideout. In 16 games, Benjamin caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns, all of which are career highs.
Unfortunately, Benjamin hasn’t been the same player after suffering a torn ACL in a 2015 preseason practice. He missed all of that year and came back in 2016, and his production has gone south ever since.
If his form is closer to the version seen in Buffalo, then Benjamin’s tenure with the Chiefs may not last long.