What a crazy NFL Trade Deadline here for the Carolina Panthers.
In one of the shockers of all shockers, the Panthers have traded 2014 first round draft pick Kelvin Benjamin to Buffalo for a 3rd and 7th round draft pick.
Just looking at all the tweets, Keep Pounding Nation is not too happy about this, but pump your breaks. It may not be such a bad thing.
Benjamin showed great promise in his rookie season as he had 73 catches for 1008 yards and 9 touchdowns-- all of those numbers are Panthers rookie records.
But in year 2, he missed the entire season after suffering a knee injury in training camp.
Last season, he had 63 catches for 941 yards and 7 TD.
You would expect Benjamin to be the leading receiver for this team this season but let's take a look at the numbers. Thru 8 games, he only has 32 catches which is 3rd on the team behind rookie running back Christian McCaffrey (49) and Devin Funchess (33).
KB has had issues with coming into camps out of shape. He had that problem at Florida State and it has carried over into his pro career. That is not a good thing when you are having knee issues and Benjamin has struggled with knee problems this season.
The Panthers passing attack has struggled this season with KB. Now it's time to see what they can do without him.
Let's not forget, when the Panthers went to the Super Bowl in 2015, KB was not on the field. Quarterback Cam Newton had one his best seasons of his career and won the league MVP... without KB.
The starting wide receivers in 2017 are Kelvin and Devin Funchess. They are pretty much the same receiver. Big body guys that can out physical a defensive back but neither has blazing speed.
This team has lacked a deep threat all season long which has added to the struggles to run the ball because they are facing 8 men in the box. Curtis Samuel COULD BE the deep threat this team needs and this trade gives the rookie the chance to get more time on the field. Time to see what he can do.
WR Russell Shepard should get more time as well. Time to see what Shep can do.
The Panthers are also high on WR Kaelin Clay who they just got back from Buffalo last week. Clay had a great preseason with the team and made the original 53 man roster, but the Panthers traded him to Buffalo before the season for defensive back Kevon Seymour. Clay is another speed guy who could be another potential deep threat and has already taken over primary duties as the Panthers punt returner.
In other words, the Panthers have options and now it is time to see what they really have.
We all know the NFL is a business so in that vein, another thing that goes with Benjamin is his 5th year option that the Panthers picked up back in May. That option was worth $8.5 million next season and now the Panthers are off the hook for that.
What will this team miss with KB gone?
Will they miss KB in the red zone? YES! But remember Greg Olsen? The Pro Bowl tight end can start practicing this week and could be back for November 26th game at the New York Jets. When he comes back Olsen will be Cam's #1 red zone target.
Will the guys in the locker miss KB? YES! He is a great locker room guy and his team mates loved him none more so than Cam Newton. After Sunday's win in Tampa, Cam talked about Benjamin playing his first game in Florida since KB lost his mother over the summer. That's the toughest aspect of a move like this. They are watching a brother walk out their locker room.
At 5-3 at the midway point, it's time for the Panthers to get it together and a move like this should put that locker room on notice. Maybe this will be the move that lights a fire under this team and sparks a playoff run.
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