TRADING SPACES: Travis Benjamin

By Julius Jasper, DFW Writer, @MasterAlpha_DFW


After spending four years paying his dues in Cleveland, Travis Benjamin is packing his bags and heading to the West Coast. In my younger football watching years, I used to watch in amazement when a player that I deemed as a ‘one-trick pony’ would receive guaranteed money on the open market. As the years went by, I began to understand that there are two primary factors that lead to a situation in which a ‘one-trick pony’ is able to cash in…

Those Two Factors Are:

  • Supply and Demand
  • Scheme

In the case of Travis Benjamin, he found himself as the top speed Wide Receiver available in a very lackluster Free Agency class. Because of this, he was able to secure a 4yr/$24 million contract from the Chargers in which $13 million is guaranteed. As part of the deal, Benjamin will receive $5 million in signing bonuses spread out over the duration of the deal at $1.25 million annually. Starting in the 2018 season, the Chargers will cease to have equity in the deal as Benjamin will have a cap hit of $7 million with $2.5 million in dead money. Then for the 2019 season his cap hit will be $6.5 million and the dead money will only be $1.25 million.

It is highly unlikely that Benjamin plays more than two years with the Chargers. If you target him in your Dynasty League this summer, keep it in mind that you have two years of solid WR3/Flex play to depend on.



2015Cleveland Browns16156896614.25
2014Cleveland Browns1601831417.43
2013Cleveland Browns83510521.00
2012Cleveland Browns1431829816.62


Travis2The 2015 season was undeniably a coming out party for Travis Benjamin. He put together a respectable season accumulating 966 receiving yards, 68 receptions, 5 touchdowns, on an average of 14.2 per catch. These really aren’t eye popping numbers. But when you take into account that Benjamin’s total receptions and yards for the entire first three years as a pro (41 receptions and 717 yards) are less than his 2015 totals, you have to take tip your cap to him. What should fantasy owners expect from a 5’10, 175 lb receiver who is projected to play flanker in a division where the Raiders, Chiefs, and Broncos reside? Well, since the Browns played against the AFC West last year, let’s take a look at how Benjamin fared against his new division rivals in the 2015 season..travisstats

What we have here is sample size that equates Benjamin having played half of his now two division games against his new rivals. We should take into account that these numbers are a reflection of what Benjamin could produce as a #1 receiving option. This type of production is erratic and not something you should feel good about on Sunday morning. But let’s keep in mind that as a member of the Browns, Benjamin was deployed as the #1 receiving option. Now with the Chargers, he will not be facing the opposing defenses best defender and will have the luxury of lining up in creative ways as Mike McCoy looks to maximize their investment in the speedy Benjamin. If your league rewards bonuses for big plays, then you should being thinking of deploying Benjamin as boom or bust option in the mold of a poor man’s Desean Jackson.


The Chargers are in an interesting situation as they gear up for the 2016 NFL season. Last year’s selection of Melvin Gordon didn’t have the positive impact on the rushing attack that they hoped it would. Gordon averaged a trifling 3.5 yards per carry while losing four of the six fumbles he committed. If you really wanted to gain a better understanding of how big of a letdown Gordon was, take his 184 carries and divide them by the 6 fumbles he had and it comes out to a fumble every 30 carries. To go even deeper, if the Chargers were to run Gordon on 1st and 2nd downs every drive with his 3.5 yards per carry average, they would consistently be facing a passing situation on 3rd down every drive. If Melvin Gordon doesn’t come to play serious grown man football this season, you can expect that the Chargers are going to give Benjamin opportunities to impact the game is ways similar to what Mike McCarthy does with Randall Cobb or like Ron Rivera does with Ted Ginn. These changes could prove to be a serious boost for fantasy owners because the presence of Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson, and Antonio Gates/Hunter Henry all but assure that Benjamin is not going to be an intermediate target monster in the passing attack. All things considered, it’s a windfall off-season for Phillip RIvers in terms of new skill-position talent to play with Benjamin and Henry on the team, and Allen returning from injury (lacerated kidney).


The Browns really have some great fans. It seems like every few years the front office is totally scrapping their previously brilliant plans and going in a new direction. Who can really blame a player for wanting to this type of toxic environment? This is the same team that couldn’t make it work with Mike Holmgren calling the shots. Such a shame. Now we have another fresh face on the scene in Hue Jackson. I actually thought that had Benjamin stayed in Cleveland, he would have had a chance to produce consistent lower level WR2 numbers under Hue. But how can you pass on Phillip Rivers for Robert Griffin III? You can’t. Simple as that. The Browns drafted a replacement for Benjamin with their selection of Corey Coleman. They drafted three more receivers as well. Most notably, Jordan Payton. I believe the Browns are going to get very creative with their offense under Jackson. This could have been a great situation for Benjamin to continue to grow in. But unless you’ve actually been to Cleveland, you’ll never I understand how good it feels when you leave.