Whenever new acquisition Kelvin Benjamin suits up for the Buffalo Bills (5-2), the talented wide receiver will bring with him a familiar jersey number, donning number 13. That’s the jersey number Benjamin wore during his four seasons as a productive member of the Carolina Panthers before Buffalo sent a third- and seventh-round draft pick to the Panthers Tuesday to land Benjamin.
Benjamin, who officially became a member of the Bills after passing his physical Wednesday morning, is the second former Panther to wear #13 for the Bills. He joins wide receiver Kaelin Clay, who Buffalo traded for during the offseason only to release after contributing one reception for 28 yards and two punt returns for two yards in limited action.
Stevie Johnson, another former number 13 for the Bills, approved of the decision on Twitter Wednesday, too.
Buffalo’s brass is confident it will get much more production out of the latest player to wear No. 13. Benjamin has 32 receptions on 51 targets this season, good for 475 yards and two touchdowns. By himself, Benjamin was nearly as productive as Buffalo’s current wide receivers (Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones, Andre Holmes, Deonte Thompson, and Brandon Tate), as the Bills’ receivers caught 45 passes for 594 yards as a unit.
The 26-year-old receiver has one year remaining on a five-year rookie contract signed in 2014. For the remainder of 2017, Benjamin will cost Buffalo about half a million dollars in cap space. He’ll be under contract with an injury-guaranteed $8.45 million cap hit next year, but if healthy can be cut for no dead money.
Bills fans are excited to see what their newest offensive weapon can bring to a passing attack that was in dire need of a boost leading up to Tuesday’s trade deadline.
Buffalo travels to MetLife Stadium for an 8:25 p.m. AFC East clash with the New York Jets Thursday night.