The Carolina Panthers plan to pick up the fifth-year option on wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, general manager Dave Gettleman revealed on Friday.
The Panthers picking up his option is a no-brainer as Benjamin, when healthy, has been the team’s best receiver since landing in Carolina.
Benjamin, the Panthers first-round draft choice in 2014, is now under contract through the 2018 season. Last season, he hauled in 63 of 118 targets for 941 yards and seven touchdowns and proved to be a reliable threat deep down the field with 10 receptions of 20-or-more yards.
“We’re really fired up with the way Kelvin finished the year,” Gettleman said, per Black and Blue Review. “He started the year strong, had that lull, then finished up — he was a man. The Tampa game … Cam throws the ball, and I’m saying to myself, ‘Who the hell is he throwing that to?’ All of a sudden I see (Benjamin) jump and it’s like, ‘Holy crap!’ Then he almost killed Brent Grimes on the boundary.”
Benjamin made an immediate impact as a rookie in 2014, setting team records for most catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in a season by a rookie with 73 catches, 1,008 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns. He missed the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL suffered in training camp.