Signaling another move toward young players, the Buffalo Bills released wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes.
Benjamin has been a disappointment since his acquisition by the Bills in the middle of last season from the Carolina Panthers. He caught 16 passes for 217 yards and one touchdown in six games last season and had 23 receptions for 354 yards and one touchdown this season.
Benjamin had nine touchdowns his first NFL season (2014) and seven his second (2016). He had three last season between the Bills and Carolina.
His play drew the ire of many fans who questioned his effort, his conditioning and his route running. Last week, he said he had stayed away from social media to avoid the vitriol.
“My first season like this,” he said last week. “I’ve learned a lot about myself though. I’ve been bombarded by everybody. Just push through, just fight, my strength, my mindset and my mental part is just: This is my low. ... I’m able to push through it and still smile and come out and just work, be around the guys in the locker room. It’s a learning season for me, very much a learning season.”
|BENJAMIN GAME-BY-GAME WITH BILLS|
Benjamin, 27, coming off an offseason knee surgery, was in the final year of his contract and his release will have a negligible impact on the compensatory formula.
“I think coming into the season that was hard,” he said last week. “I ain’t going to lie. It was always on my mind. So I was trying to block it out and just try to have fun with the game.
“But at times you drop a ball, so like I said, I was even more critical of myself. So I would let that domino-effect me. Right now ... I just gotta recap. We’ve got six games left, man. We’re just trying to go all in. Go all out, put my body on the line. Hopefully I come out healthy and just get ready for the offseason.”
In meeting with reporters the day after the win against the Jaguars, offensive coordinator Brian Daboll was asked about Benjamin's dwindling snap count.
"KB’s into it," he said. "We have different personnel packages. That’s nothing on KB or what he’s doing. We just have different personnel packages that we kind of implement with Robert and Isaiah. Depending on the flow of the game, sometimes we can use more of it, sometimes we can use less of it.
"He’s been a good teammate, been into it, continue to grind it out. It can easily flip, depending on how a game goes or a matchup goes one way or another."
Holmes, 30, a veteran who primarily contributes on special teams, has 12 catches for 157 yards and no touchdowns.
Without Benjamin and Holmes, the Bills' wide receiving corps will be based around 2017 second-round pick Zay Jones, undrafted rookie Robert Foster and second-year player Isaiah McKenzie, acquired off waivers from the Broncos. Deonte Thompson, who returned to the Bills during the bye week, is also on the roster. Rookie Ray-Ray McCloud has been inactive after playing earlier in the season on special teams.
Their spots on the 53-man roster were taken by cornerback Denzel Rice and defensive end Mike Love.
The Bills also placed center Russell Bodine on injured reserve following Monday surgery to repair a broken tibia.
This story will be updated.