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Benjamin told Tim Graham of The Athletic (via Nick Carboni of WCNC) Newton’s deficiencies compared to other high-profile QBs, namely accuracy and “knowledge,” prevented him from finding consistent success before his trade to the Bills last October:
Nick Carboni @NickCarboniWCNC
Former #Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin not holding back on organization, Cam, when talking to the @TheAthletic https://t.co/pa2sMo0VXm https://t.co/7TcUP5zpsO
He further commented about the situation Saturday afternoon on Twitter:
Kelvin Benjamin @kelvinbenjamin
I’m just crazy then !!! I was the one who buried my mom and skip the grievance process to get back and help that team …. let be real it’s was all fake .. and to be honest i was salty Who wouldn’t be …. I just ben holding it all in. And now I’m free. Hate me or love me ..🖐🏽
The 27-year-old Florida State product tallied 73 receptions for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns during his rookie season after the Panthers selected him in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Those numbers all remain career-high totals. He missed the 2015 campaign because of a torn ACL, and his involvement in the offense faded over the past two years. He recorded just 32 catches in eight contests with Carolina before the trade last season.
In June, Benjamin confirmed to John Wawrow of the Associated Press that he informed the Panthers about his desire to get moved.
“I didn’t want to be there no more, nah,” he said. “I just felt like they weren’t featuring me more. I was their No. 1, but I wasn’t getting my No. 1 targets.”
Meanwhile, Bills general manager Brandon Beane, who previously worked in the Carolina front office from 2008 through 2016, admitted the receiver wasn’t a good fit with the Panthers.
“I didn’t think it was a what you’d call a perfect marriage at the time for various reasons, and probably looking at a lot of avenues for blame,” Beane told Wawrow. “I know when he’s healthy what he can do. And you can’t coach size and length that he has. And that’s a weapon to defend.”
Newton was voted the NFL’s Most Valuable Player and Offensive Player of the Year in 2015 and has earned three Pro Bowl selections since the Panthers took him first overall in 2011.
That said, his value comes from his all-around playmaking ability. He’s far from the league’s best pure passer.
Newton ranks 18th among active quarterbacks in career passer rating (85.3) and 27th in completion percentage (58.5).
That’s not ideal for a physical receiver like Benjamin, who struggles to create separation but can win one-on-one battles with smaller corners on pinpoint throws. So it was probably best for all parties involved that he was traded to Buffalo, where he’ll seek to emerge as the clear top target in 2018.