The Kansas City Chiefs made the surprise move of signing wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to a one-year deal on Thursday evening, as first reported by ESPN. It made more sense as reports about Sammy Watkins emerged Friday.
That’s when Benjamin made his debut on the practice field for the Chiefs. He stands at 6 feet 5 and 239 pounds and despite some rumblings he may be out of shape, very much looked the part.
“He’s been good against us, number one,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of Benjamin on Friday. “He’s a big, physical player. Again, you add him to the mix. He comes in, he’s got experience and he’s been a good football player at this level and in this league. He was a great college player. We liked him coming out of Florida State. Brett (Veach) brought him in and added him to the team.”
Benjamin played the Chiefs just once, back in mid-November of 2016. He put up seven catches for 84 yards but ultimately lost the game when then-Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters ripped the ball from his grasp and the Chiefs took over possession in a tie game they ultimately won.
Benjamin remained with the Panthers until he was traded to Buffalo, where he was released earlier this week.
“It is a business,” Benjamin told reporters regarding his release from the Bills. “I’m glad to be here. We already know that the Kansas City Chiefs have been tearing it up this year. They were one of the teams that really wanted me and I’m happy and glad to be here.”
Benjamin’s arrival comes with a history of what some would consider quarterback issues. Benjamin told The Athletic he wasn’t a fit for Cam Newton in Carolina and reportedly told Bills quarterback Josh Allen he wouldn’t work on routes with him before a game earlier this season.
Given the MVP-caliber year of Patrick Mahomes, there should be no reason to complain in Kansas City.
“He can get the ball out,” Benjamin said of Mahomes. “He makes plays with his feet, extends plays and just how he gets the ball to his pass catchers.”
In his five-year career, Benjamin has played in 58 games with 52 starts, compiling 207 catches for nearly 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns in that span. His first 40 games as a Panther went much better than his last 18 as a Bill.
“Sometimes change of scenery can be good for a guy and he’s got an opportunity to come in here,” Reid said.
Reid added he does not expect Benjamin to play much this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens but could be available for Thursday night against the Los Angeles Chargers.