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Buffalo Bills embrace youth movement; release Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes

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The change is on

Chicago Bears v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills shook up their receiving corps in a big way on Tuesday evening, releasing veteran receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes. In their place, Buffalo promoted two players from the practice squad: cornerback Denzel Rice and defensive end Mike Love.

As the 2018 season wore on, it was clear that Benjamin had no place in Buffalo’s future plans. The Bills traded a third-round pick for the 6’5” 240 pound receiver at last year’s trade deadline, but he never became the number-one target the front office envisioned. In 2018, Benjamin has the worst catch rate in the NFL (37.1%), turning 62 targets into 23 catches, 354 yards, and a single touchdown. He didn’t have the athletic ability or technical precision to separate from defenders, and his calling card—contested catches—found his opponent usually winning the decision and physical match-up.

Holmes didn’t arrive with a high price tag, but became an afterthought in Buffalo’s offense as younger players like Zay Jones, Robert Foster, and Jason Croom developed into noteworthy targets. Holmes caught 12 passes for 157 yards this season, and was only targeted once (a 22-yard reception) over the past three games.

The moves speak volumes about Buffalo’s opinions of their young receivers, Zay Jones, and Robert Foster. It also suggests that an off-season position revamp isn’t out of the question.

The 6’0” 196 pound Rice, a former undrafted free agent out of Coastal Carolina University, entered the league in 2015. He recorded stats with the Houston Texans in 2016, and with the Cleveland Browns in 2018. For his career, he has 12 combined tackles (8 solo) and an interception.

Love is a 6’3” 255-pound rookie who signed with the Bills after the 2018 NFL Draft. A product of the University of South Florida, he recorded 5.5 sacks as a senior. Love had a few strong practices in training camp but ultimately didn’t make the active roster, signing with the practice squad until Tuesday.

In an accompanying move, the Bills placed center Russell Bodine on injured reserve. The team still has one open roster spot.