By Taylor Welsh. October 31, 2017. CHARLOTTE, NC — For most in Carolina Pantherland, it was an unforeseen scenario and potentially the worst kind of Halloween haunt. The Carolina Panthers shipped out top receiver Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo just as the NFL trade deadline window began to close, reuniting the 6’5’’ veteran receiver out of Florida State with Bills head coach Sean McDermott in exchange for future 3rd and 7th round picks.
The Bills severely lacked at the wide receiver position after trading Sammy Watkins in early August to the Los Angeles Rams. And despite acquiring Jordan Matthews from the Philadelphia Eagles in the three-team trade, the move still left Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor without a true No. 1 receiver, a problem that was evident throughout the early stages of this season. As a consequence, Taylor relied primarily on tight end Charles Clay to make plays and score touchdowns — but even that reliance became problematic when Clay suffered torn meniscus and ACL injuries in game five vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.
What does this move mean about the Bills?
This is proof that the Bills organization, from General Manager Brandon Beane to its ball boys believe that they can win this year. With a 5-2 record, this move could catapult the Bills into the playoff contender conversation, and put a spotlight on their new star receiver.
How does this impact the Panthers’ season?
As if Cam Newton didn’t already have a hard time making up for the team’s horrendous running game by trying to find open receivers, he will now have the improbable task of carrying this team without his favorite target.
However, Panthers current top receiver Devin Funchess has proven to be a lethal scoring threat in this, so far, inconsistent offense. Also, with the return of pro bowl tight end Greg Olsen slotted for Thanksgiving, potential playoff hope is still alive for the 5-3 Panthers.
During the first half of the 2017 season, Benjamin played in eight games for the Panthers and caught 32 passes for 475 yards and 2 TDs. For his NFL career that started in 2014 (missing all of 2015 with an injury), he caught 168 passes for 2,424 yards (14.4 yds per catch average) and 18 TDs.
Edited by David Rogers