Free agent wide receiver Travis Benjamin had his first big year in 2015, and he's turned that into a new four-year, $24 million deal with the San Diego Chargers, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The team confirmed the signing Wednesday afternoon. Benjamin, 26, was one of the few bright spots with the Cleveland Browns last season, but either didn't want to return or didn't get a good enough offer.
Cleveland made Benjamin a fourth-round pick out of the University of Miami in 2012. He spent the first three years of his career as a mostly anonymous player, contributing mainly on special teams and in specific packages on offense. From 2012-14, Benjamin combined for just 41 catches and five touchdowns on offense, while scoring two touchdowns on punt returns.
Benjamin's career took a major uptick in 2015. The year-long suspension of Josh Gordon meant that somebody had to step up as the new No. 1 receiver, and Benjamin proved up to the task. He easily reached career highs with 68 catches, 966 yards and five touchdowns, showing the kind of game-breaking explosiveness that made him such an interesting prospect in the first place.
It's a great move for the Chargers. Benjamin gives them a speedy deep threat to go with Keenan Allen for a nice one-two punch. If they can all stay healthy, the ageless Philip Rivers could once again throw for 4,700 yards, or more.