What Kelvin Benjamin says about the Chiefs, Brett Veach and Sammy Watkins

BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 04: Kelvin Benjamin #13 of the Buffalo Bills drops a pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter during NFL game action as he is hit by Kevin Toliver II #22 of the Chicago Bears at New Era Field on November 4, 2018 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 04: Kelvin Benjamin #13 of the Buffalo Bills drops a pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter during NFL game action as he is hit by Kevin Toliver II #22 of the Chicago Bears at New Era Field on November 4, 2018 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The Kelvin Benjamin signing is an interesting one for the Kansas City Chiefs. Here are few thoughts about the impact of the signing.

Despite the fact that Kelvin Benjamin cleared waivers without a single franchise laying claim, Adam Schefter didn’t think he’d last long as a free agent. It turns out Schefter was right, as the most potent offense in the National Football League decided they wanted to add another pass catcher for the stretch run.

On Thursday it was announced that the Kansas City Chiefs were going to officially become the third team to employ Benjamin since he was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. Two previous stops have ended rather poorly, with both the Panthers and Buffalo Bills willing to forgo most (or all) of their investment for the belief that addition by subtraction was the best way forward when it came to Benjamin.

Despite the harsh ending of Benjamin’s previous stints in the NFL, the Chiefs apparently saw something in Benjamin to like during his visit on Thursday and signed him to a one-year deal. On the surface, the signing is a bit of a head scratcher since the Chiefs already have a potent offense with a likely MVP candidate at the helm in Patrick Mahomes. Most fans will point to the defense and wonder where the efforts are to improve that side instead of flirting with a failed first-round wideout. Such statements simply aren’t fair, however.  A move here does not preclude a move there.

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If the Chiefs are, indeed, loaded on offense, the signing of Benjamin is interesting, to say the least. It tells us a few things about the Chiefs, their leadership, their roster. It also gives us hope about Benjamin. Some thoughts on Benjamin’s signing with the Chiefs, in no particular order.

What it says about Brett Veach

The low-risk, high-reward venture is Brett Veach’s calling card. Sometimes it works out very well. Other times the results are middling. Either way, Veach is developing a reputation as a guy who is willing to take on the formerly heralded in hopes of finding gold in places where others have grown tired of digging.

Cameron Erving was a first-round pick for the Cleveland Browns who entered the NFL without a set position but with the athleticism and versatility to play everywhere. That lack of a set position looked like it would doom him early on, as he failed to look the part with the Browns’ rotating carousel of offensive coordinators and quarterbacks. Fast forward and Erving has a position to call his own at left guard along with a contract extension through 2020 signed this fall.

Reggie Ragland only cost Brett Veach a mid-round pick in last year’s draft for the chance to bring over a former second-round thumper to fill in the gaping hole in the heart of the Chiefs defense. His reputation as a run stopper made this a thrilling deal for fans. Unfortunately, Ragland was injured when he first arrived and he still hasn’t cemented himself as the defender the Chiefs still need. Yet he’s still young and controlled by the Chiefs, so there’s hope yet for Anthony Hitchens and him to grow together in the middle.

Now it’s Kelvin Benjamin, a former first-round wideout with a linebacker’s build who has been brought for a one-month tryout, so to speak. The potential is obviously there in the eyes of scouts, and Veach is trusting Andy Reid and his staff to coach up whatever talent they can in whatever the time frame gives them. Even if Benjamin is able to add a mismatch here and there on offense down the stretch, it will be worth the addition, but the potential here for more is a risk worth taking. A low risk for a high reward? Veach hopes once again.

What this says about Sammy Watkins

Sammy Watkins first went down in Week 9 with a foot injury against the Cleveland Browns. He sat out Week 10 against the Arizona Cardinals and then played only a single series, the opening drive, against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 11. He was given a week off at the bye in Week 12 and proceeded to miss the Oakland Raiders game in Week 13.

This week, Watkins appeared in practice on Wednesday for the Chiefs but was a limited participant per the official injury report. At this point it is not known if Watkins will heal up for the stretch run or even if he’s ready for this week. But the long-term question needs to be asked at this point because the Chiefs are starting to lose some of those bigger weapons.

Kareem Hunt’s release is not even a week old at this point, and together without Watkins on the field, the Chiefs remain dangerous but they don’t look the same. If Watkins isn’t going to be reliable for the most important part of the year, then why not take a chance on a kid with untapped talent in the hopes of being the team to make it work? It’s unknown whether Watkins’ injury plays into this at all, but it’s hard to imagine that Veach makes this deal without thinking in terms of insurance.

What this could mean for Kelvin Benjamin

Here’s the bottom line: Kelvin Benjamin still has the chance to make a lot of money in the National Football League. He also has to know that those chances are running out.

There’s not much here for Benjamin to work with. The Chiefs host the Baltimore Ravens this weekend and play two of their remaining four games within one week of signing Benjamin. That’s very, very little time for a brand new player to come into the locker room and practice and really get a grip on his role on the team.

In addition, the Chiefs aren’t going to be giving him the lion’s share of any opportunities. Tyreek Hill is still on pace to break the Chiefs all-time single-season receiving record. Travis Kelce is setting career marks himself as the best tight end in football. Sammy Watkins (if healthy), Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson, Spencer Ware, Demetrius Harris, and others will all get their looks, too.

But this could be a good thing for Benjamin. He’s no longer the savior. He’s not even a potential savior. The Chiefs just put up 40 last Sunday without Kareem Hunt or Sammy Watkins. The Chiefs will find the end zone with or without Benjamin, which means that for the first time in his career, Benjamin is a free man. He can simply perform without anyone asking him to be a leader, a captain, an instant impact. If it works, it works. If not, what’s the hurt?

Benjamin can step into the shadows with the Chiefs. The papers aren’t waiting for him to mess up. Reporters aren’t ready to read between the lines on his quotes. He can follow the rules, be a good citizen, keep his head down and play football. And if he’s the sort of physical specimen that scouts believed him to be, he might be in the perfect place.

It’s only a month, but Patrick Mahomes makes everyone else around him look good. Andy Reid knows best how to utilize each and every player to maximize their efforts. If the Chiefs now have a linebacker with a wide receiver’s skill set, you think Reid isn’t going to call some plays that will exploit exactly that?

Next. Offseason options for the Chiefs at running back. dark

If any team can, the Kansas City Chiefs could make Benjamin look good. That’s what all sides here are counting on.