Reports out of North Carolina indicate that Carolina Panthers’ second-year receiver Kelvin Benjamin will be lost to the team for the entire 2015 season. Benjamin, who was the team’s first round selection in the 2014 NFL draft, went down with an apparent knee injury during a joint practice with the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday.
It was later confirmed that Benjamin tore his anterior cruciate ligament and will be lost to the team for the season. His loss leaves the team without a clear cut number one receiver with less than one month before the regular season begins. Carolina may have to rely on veterans Ted Ginn, Jr. and Jerricho Cotchery to pick up the slack or hope that young players like Brenton Bersin, Jarrett Boykin or Devin Funchess grow up in a hurry.
According to Jonathan Jones of the Charlotte Observer, “Benjamin performed a swim move on [Miami cornerback Reshad] Jones to get on the inside of Jones, and at that moment as he planted his feet to turn he crumbled to the ground. As Benjamin went down, he immediately grabbed his left knee with his left hand and quickly let out a scream.”
Former New York Giants’ personnel director Dave Gettleman now occupies the general manager’s chair in Charlotte, and he maintains a good working relationship with his former team. Gettleman helped out the G-men in 2013 by sending former Pro Bowl linebacker Jon Beason to the team for a late round draft pick at a time when New York had no answer in the middle of their defense.
This time the tables are turned, as perhaps the only area with an abundance of talent on New York’s roster is the wide receiving corps. With a likely successful return from a serious knee injury by Victor Cruz, and holdovers Odell Beckham, Jr., Rueben Randle and Corey Washington, the Giants have talent on the outside. Newly signed veterans James Jones and Dwayne Harris, and draft pick Geremy Davis all have an eye on a roster spot as well.
Another player who is rarely discussed these days is Julian Talley, who has been with the organization for the past two seasons. But the most likely candidates to go south might be Jones or Washington, especially Washington if the coaching staff believes that Davis can be an immediate and viable red zone threat.
Last year, Giants’ general manager Jerry Reese spun his extra place kicker into a draft pick when he sent Brandon McManus to Denver for a seventh round draft pick. The pick acquired from Denver was later packaged on draft day to Tennessee as the team moved up in the second round to select safety Landon Collins from Alabama.
One complication may have arisen in the news that Victor Cruz is dealing with a calf issue and will not play this weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In addition, the New York Post reports that Rueben Randle is still dealing with knee tendinitis. “Rueben Randle will sit out practice again dealing with tendinitis in his knee. That problem caused Randle to miss practice time last week, and he lasted only three plays against the Bengals before his knee acted up and he took a seat,” Paul Schwartz wrote today.
Neither Cruz’s setback nor Randle’s knee issues are expected to last long term, so eventually the G-men will still be dealing with a numbers game at wide receiver with their roster cuts.