The NFL is like any other job. When a disgruntled employee leaves, they normally will do so by hurling insults at their former team and teammates. What’s going on with the Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton, and former receiver Kelvin Benjamin is no different. The issue here is that Benjamin is speaking out of the side of his mouth a season after being traded and facing the 2018 season with no real shot at the playoffs. He’s jealous.
If Drake were to tell this story, it’s clear that Kelvin Benjamin is in his feelings right now. “Cam Newton do you love me?/ Are you riding/ Say you’ll never ever leave from beside me/ Cause I want you/ and I need you.” No. Benjamin had his chance to make a name for himself with the Panthers’ organization but the bottom line is, he was a bust. When healthy, he can be a productive No. 2 threat, but was he ever a true No. 1?
The Carolina Panthers Took A Huge Gamble With Kelvin Benjamin
Coming out of Florida State in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Panthers took a gamble on the former Seminole with the 28th pick. And while Benjamin thinks he made a mistake, the Panthers are punching themselves for passing on other talented receivers. Instead of selecting Benjamin, the Panthers had the chance to draft others like Marqise Lee, Jordan Matthews, Devante Adams, and Jarvis Landry. The Panthers envisioned Benjamin’s big frame and thought (end zone threat) but what they got was (Injured Reserve threat). But now, Benjamin blames Cam Newton for his lack of production and not his fragile body.
In his rookie season, Benjamin caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns. He was labeled as the Panthers’ “next big thing.” Well, the following season, he missed the entire year and how did the Carolina Panthers respond? All they did was end the year with an NFL best 15-1 record and a trip to the Super Bowl. Yes, Cam Newton won MVP that year but there was no sight of Benjamin.
In his return year in 2016, Benjamin would go on to catch 63 passes for 941 yards and seven touchdowns. But during that time, Benjamin caught a bad rep in the NFL for dropping a lot of passes as well. In a Q&A with The Athletic, Benjamin would have this to say about his time with Newton and the Panthers.
“I mean, I felt like I would’ve been even more successful if … I don’t know, man … If I would’ve … Looking back on it, I should’ve just been drafted by somebody else. I should’ve never went to Carolina. Truly, I just think Carolina was bad for me. It was a bad fit from the get-go”.
If that wasn’t damaging enough, he would continue on with more slander for a team that took a risk on him.
“If you would’ve put me with any other quarterback, let’s be real, you know what I’m saying? Any other accurate quarterback like Rodgers or Eli Manning or Big Ben — anybody! — quarterbacks with knowledge, that know how to place a ball and give you a better chance to catch the ball. It just felt like I wasn’t in that position”.
It’s Time For Benjamin To Grow Up
He has a slight point as Newton is not known as the most accurate passer. But at what point does Benjamin take some of the blame? He’s talking about a QB who was named MVP while he wasn’t there. Benjamin is slandering a team that has won before him and has continued to win without him. In 2014, Newton (with Benjamin) completed 58 percent of his passes. In 2015 (no Benjamin), Newton completed 60 percent, and in 2016, Newton (with Benjamin), completed 53 percent. You do the math there.
After his trade to the Buffalo Bills in 2016, many figured he would be the prime target for Tyrod Taylor. Not the case as Benjamin would miss more time due to injuries and when he was on the field, in those six games, he would only snag 16 passes for 217 yards and one touchdown. But Newton was the problem, right?
It’s time for Kelvin Benjamin to be a professional and him speaking out now may be due to jealousy and a wounded ego. His best seasons were with the Panthers but he couldn’t live up to the hype. While he’s struggling, Newton has continued to be mentioned with the elite QBs in the league. But on another note, Taylor was a Pro Bowl QB before Benjamin came to Buffalo too. The QBs are not the problem, Benjamin is.