The Bills decided they were going to be buyers for the second half of the 2017 season. Buffalo acquired WR Kelvin Benjamin from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a third and seventh-round pick in 2018 in a deal that was finalized just 20 minutes prior to the 4 pm league deadline.
"You're always looking to make a move to win today and to win tomorrow. I think this answers both of those," said GM Brandon Beane of the Benjamin acquisition. "I know who the person is and I know the guys in the locker room will like him.
"He's tough, he's big. He's got great hands. He knows how to run routes. He can block. He's way bigger than most of the corners he faces. He can help you in the run game there. He'll fit this locker room. The coaches will like him. The players will like him. It's a win for the Buffalo Bills."
Benjamin, 26, brings a welcome size element and physical presence to Buffalo's receiving corps at 6-5 and 245 pounds. Beane and head coach Sean McDermott have a strong handle on Benjamin as a player and teammate after spending the last three years with him on a daily basis in the Carolina organization.
A former first-round pick of the Panthers in 2014. His rookie season was his most productive as he posted just over 1,000 yards receiving on 73 receptions with nine touchdowns. He missed the 2015 season after tearing his ACL prior to the regular season.
He returned in 2016 to make 63 catches for 941 yards and seven touchdowns. This season in eight games Benjamin has 32 receptions for 475 yards and a pair of scores.
The Panthers picked up the fifth-year option on Benjamin's rookie contract this past spring putting him in line for an $8.45M salary in 2018. The Bills can re-negotiate that final year of his deal at any point in time if they choose to do so.
Buffalo gave up their own third-round pick and a seventh-round pick acquired from Los Angeles in the Cardale Jones trade in next spring's draft to acquire the big, physical receiver. The Bills still have five picks in the first three rounds of next year's draft.
The Bills released RB Joe Banyard to make room on the roster for Benjamin, who is expected to arrive in Buffalo late Tuesday evening.