The Detroit Lions need a spark to their lifeless offense. But is former Buffalo Bill wide receiver now free agent Kelvin Benjamin the answer?
For the past few seasons, the Detroit Lions have been best known for their passing offense. With franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford under center, and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter playing to role of conductor since 2015, the Lions passing offense has never ranked lower than 11th before this year.
With new head coach and defensive guru Matt Patricia at the helm, the Lions passing offense has dropped all the way down to 17th. In their past five games, Detroit hasn’t been able to throw for more than 229 yards through the air in a single contest, averaging a mere 203.4 passing yards per game. Last season, the Lions passing offense was the sixth best in the league, averaging 261 yards per contest.
The fact is the Lions passing offense simply hasn’t looked the same. And many point to the midseason trade of wide receiver Golden Tate as the tipping point. With injuries suffered by offensive stars like running back Kerryon Johnson and wideout Marvin Jones in recent weeks, an argument can be made that Stafford simply doesn’t have enough talent around him to be successful.
With only four games left in the regular season, the Lions have little opportunity to inject their offense with talent. That’s what makes the recent release for former first round wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin by the Buffalo Bills intriguing.
The Bills traded a third and seventh round selection to the Carolina Panthers for Benjamin just last season. The former Florida State star, who was the 28th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, spent his first three and a half seasons in Carolina. After posting nearly 2,000 receiving yards in the first two years he actually played for the Panthers (2015 lost to torn ACL), the team traded Benjamin away midseason of 2017 in what the player later described as a bad fit.
But it appears some of those issues followed Benjamin to Buffalo as now the Bills have opted to give up on the player after only 18 games, waiving the 27-year old before the end of the season. The fifth-year receiver passed through waivers without being claimed and is now a free agent. It is suspected a team will be able to sign him at the league minimum.
The Detroit Lions, who are in desperate need of a red zone threat, could surely benefit from having the 6-5, 245-pound receiver as a giant target for Matthew Stafford. If the Lions are serious about trying to win this season as fivethirtyeight.com gives Detroit a two percent chance of making the playoffs if they win their next three games, then they must considering adding talent to help this lagging offense. Even if that help comes with extra baggage.