Kelvin Benjamin‘s time with the Buffalo Bills came to an end on Tuesday.
The team released the underperforming wide receiver after another quiet effort in a 21-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Benjamin finished the game with just two catches for 20 yards on four targets. In addition to Benjamin’s departure, the Bills also cut wide receiver, Andre Holmes.
Sources: The #Bills just released veteran WR Andre Holmes and WR Kelvin Benjamin. Wow.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 4, 2018
Kelvin Benjamin Released by Buffalo Bills
Benjamin never caught on in Buffalo after coming to the team via a trade with the Carolina Panthers last season. The Bills sent a third and seventh-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft for the now 27-year-old receiver. Last year, he managed 216 receiving yards and a single touchdown catch in six starts with the Bills.
His struggles continued rather glaringly in 2018. Though the Bills came into this season short on experience at quarterback, the numbers Benjamin put up transcended any issues the team had behind center. Of specific concern was how few catches he was making relative to how many times either Nathan Peterman, Derek Anderson, or Josh Allen targeted him.
In the end, Benjamin finished with a catch rate of just 37.1 percent on 62 targets. To put into perspective how abjectly bad that is, only 10 receivers since 1992 who saw at least 60 targets had a worse catch rate. And in 2018, there are 32 receivers with a minimum of 60 targets with a catch rate above 70 percent.
Benjamin’s consistent inability to separate from opposing defensive backs also contributed to his release. Per NFL Next Gen Stats, his average separation per route run of 1.7 yards was the worst among qualifying NFL receivers (minimum 33 targets). This despite garnering over a quarter of the Bills’ total air yards.
Other players within the Bills’ receiving corps are also beginning to step up. Zay Jones had the best game of his two-year career against the Dolphins, registering two touchdown catches. He only had two total during the entirety of his rookie seasons. He’s also two weeks removed from a 93 yard, one-touchdown performance in a dominant 41-10 win over the New York Jets.
Benjamin is an impending unrestricted free agent heading into the off-season.