Cleveland Browns: Travis Benjamin must be retained in 2016
Travis Benjamin will reportedly be testing the free agent market after contract talks broke down between him and the Cleveland Browns.
The Cleveland Browns already had enough worries heading into free agency when yesterday began.
Tashaun Gipson, Alex Mack, and Mitchell Schwartz are all names who may be elsewhere during the 2016 season, and another name joins them after reports about a breakdown in negotiations.
Travis Benjamin was supposedly close to a deal, until it was reported yesterday that he and the Browns could not reach an agreement.
Some fans may have thought that this was not a big deal, as Benjamin is not exactly the cornerstone of this Browns offense. But he did finish right behind Gary Barnidge in receiving yards and touchdowns, thus leading the actual wide receivers on the team.
Benjamin finished with 966 yards and five touchdowns. The next leading receiver was Duke Johnson Jr., as running back.
All signs point to Josh Gordon returning to the team for the upcoming season, but he cannot fix the offense singlehandedly. There must be another option on the other end of the offense, and one who has breakaway speed to challenge opposing defenses.
This makes it confusing as to why the talks broke down after the two sides were allegedly close to an agreement.
One possibility is that Benjamin simply wants to test out the market before committing to several more years in Cleveland. It is hard to blame this thinking, as he could be a hot commodity this year. His speed sets him apart and makes him a great pickup for a team looking for some help in the receiving game.
These teams may even be contenders, which should interest Benjamin after being on a losing team for his entire career to this point.
Another possibility is that the front office does not think Benjamin is worth the type of money he is asking for. His stats were impressive last season, but he was the only legitimate threat at wide receiver, and also hauled in some long touchdown passes which bolstered those numbers.
The new brass may see him as replaceable through the draft, along with the return of Gordon.
While drafting a skilled receiver is a great idea, it is still a risk to let Benjamin go because of potential success. He has proven that he is capable of being a reliable target in this offense.
He may not be the top target, but he is one that will find a way to haul in a great numbers throughout the season, complementing the top receiver on the team.
The front office needs to start 2016 on a positive note and retain talent, instead of letting it walk away for no good reason.