Chiefs take a flier on ex-Bills WR Benjamin
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kelvin Benjamin went from catching passes from Josh Allen and Nathan Peterman on a Bills team going nowhere to hauling in heaves from Patrick Mahomes on a Chiefs team barreling toward the playoffs.
Not a bad finish to a tumultuous week.
Benjamin signed a one-year contract with Kansas City to finish out the season Friday, just days after the 2014 first-round pick was released by Buffalo. It brought an end to yet another disappointing run in which Benjamin struggled with one of the highest drop rates in the NFL.
“I guess you could say I saw it coming,” Benjamin said after his first workout with the Chiefs, who are preparing to play the Ravens on Sunday. “(The Chiefs) came pretty quick. I came for a visit, I liked what I saw. I liked what I heard.”
He liked everything about the situation.
Mahomes has already proven himself to be one of the league’s most vibrant quarterbacks, and Benjamin called the Kansas City offense “dynamic.” He also has the support of Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who said he liked the former Florida State standout out of college and thinks that one more change of scenery might finally unlock the potential that Benjamin has been scratching at for years.
“He’s been good against us, No. 1,” Reid said. “A big, physical player. You add him to the mix, he comes in, he’s experienced and he’s been a good football player at this level.”
Reid said there is a chance Benjamin could be ready to play by next week, even though it will be a quick turnaround for a Thursday night game against the Chargers. But time is of the essence because the Chiefs could be without No. 2 wide receiver Sammy Watkins for a while.
Watkins has been bothered by a foot problem for several weeks, and he aggravated the injury while pushing off in Thursday’s practice. An MRI exam came back negative, but the prognosis is unclear.
Watkins has 40 catches for 519 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games.
The 27-year-old Benjamin had a promising start to his career, catching 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie with Carolina. But he battled weight issues and problems with drops and clashed with several people in the organization, ultimately resulting in his trade to Buffalo last season.
He had just 23 catches for 354 yards and one touchdown this season.
The Bills released Benjamin when they decided to use the remainder of another disappointing season to look more closely at younger players. He was making $8.5 million in the final year of his contract and will be playing for a fraction of that down the stretch for Kansas City.
But he could be playing for a Super Bowl title, too.
“By next week he should have a pretty good feel for things,” Reid said. “He’s in great shape. He’s a big kid, but he’s in phenomenal shape. And sometimes a change of scenery can be good for a guy.”
NOTES: TE Demetrius Harris remained out of practice Friday with an illness, though Reid said it’s possible the backup could play Sunday. … The Chiefs signed OL Austin Reiter to a two-year deal worth up to $5.5 million, locking up one of their most versatile backups. Reiter has started four games for the Chiefs because of injuries. “For me, it just means keep doing what I’ve been doing and be ready to play,” said Reiter, who would have been a restricted free agent after this season.