5:19pm: Contract talks between Benjamin and the Browns have broken off, according to Rand Getlin of NFL.com (Twitter link). Benjamin’s agent, Ron Butler, confirms the fifth-year wide receiver will venture into the free agent market. Benjamin will join Alshon Jeffery and a host of No. 2-type wideouts among a crop that lacks the firepower of last year’s.
4:23pm: Word from the combine is that Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin will test the free agent market, per Tony Pauline of DraftInsider.net (on Twitter). Benjamin has “almost a handful” of meetings with other teams set up, Pauline adds.
A report earlier this week indicated that the Browns and Benjamin were nearing a new deal, but that might not be the case. For months now, the Browns and Benjamin have been discussing a new pact. Recently, when about his pending free agency, Benjamin replied that “the ball is in my court,” suggesting that he hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll sign an extension with Cleveland or explore the open market. However, Benjamin has said multiple times that he’d like to return to the Browns. In December, Benjamin indicated that he was about 75% or 80% of the way to reaching a new deal with Cleveland. Now, he’s at least going to put his toe in the waters of free agency.
In 2015, Benjamin hauled in a career-high 68 catches for 966 yards and five touchdowns. He also served as the team’s primary punt returner, taking 28 punts back for an average of 11.6 yards per attempt. The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus (sub. req’d) placed Benjamin in a four-way tie for the 66th best receiver amongst all qualified players. To the naked eye, however, the 26-year-old looks the part of a strong No. 2 receiving option.
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