3:55pm: The Chargers have officially announced the deal on the team’s website.
“We are very happy to add Travis Benjamin to our football team,” said general manager Tom Telesco. “We think he has the potential to help our offense and special teams in many different ways.”
2:57pm: It’s a four-year deal worth $24MM, per Rapoport (Twitter link). $13MM is guaranteed, and Benjamin will earn $18MM during the first three years.
7:25am: The Chargers are set to add a complement to Keenan Allen at wide receiver, according to Rand Getlin of the NFL Network, who reports (via Twitter) that Browns free agent Travis Benjamin intends to sign with San Diego when the new league year begins. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) first reported that the Chargers had emerged as “the team to beat” for Benjamin.
After catching just 41 passes in his first three seasons, Benjamin broke out in 2015, with 68 receptions, 966 yards, and five touchdowns. The multi-purpose weapon also continued to handle punt returns for the Browns, averaging 11.6 yards per return and returning one for a touchdown. While he may not be the sort of prototypical, big-bodied receiver that some teams may prefer, he looks like one of the top options in this year’s class of free agent wideouts.
The Texans displayed interest in Benjamin, but the bidding got too expensive for their liking, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, who tweets that the free agent wideout was seeking $6MM+ per year. The Falcons were also among the teams cited as suitors for Benjamin, whom the Browns had reportedly wanted to re-sign.
Despite the fact that Allen missed nearly half the season for the Chargers in 2015, no other wide receiver on the team came close to matching his 67 receptions. Steve Johnson ranked second among the club’s wideouts with 45 catches, so it makes sense that the team would have wanted to fortify the position this offseason.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.