Bills release Kelvin Benjamin just over a year after trading two draft picks for him

And with that, the Kelvin Benjamin era in Buffalo is over after 39 catches, 571 yards, and two touchdowns in 18 games. Just over a year after they sent a third- and seventh-round pick to Carolina in exchange for the big-bodied receiver who sticks like glue to defensive backs, the Bills cut Benjamin on Tuesday.

When the Bills traded for Benjamin at last year's trade deadline, they were gearing up for a postseason push. Now, the Bills are in the middle of a rebuild that has no role for a 27-year-old, unproductive receiver who would've walked in the offseason as a free agent (stream Jets-Bills and all of Sunday's CBS games on CBS All Access, and stream all the games on fuboTV, try it for free).

To be clear, the Bills have officially lost the trade. As our Will Brinson noted on Twitter, the Bills could've found a better, cheaper, and younger receiver in the draft if they had kept that third-round pick.

The Panthers used the third-round pick on defensive back Rashaan Gaulden and the seventh-round pick on linebacker Andre Smith. Neither player has made much of an impact, but they're both still on the roster while Gaulden has played in 11 games and made 14 combined tackles. We can't judge either rookie this early into their careers, but by this point, we have a pretty clear idea of what kind of receiver Benjamin has been and will continue to be during his career. 

As for Benjamin, it's not clear what will come next for the 2014 first-round pick. It's been all downhill for him since he broke out with 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns during his rookie season. There was a torn ACL that ended his second season before it began. There were weight concerns when he was in Carolina. There were the recent disparaging comments he made about the Panthers. There has been lackluster production on the field. A part of that can be attributed to the current state of the Bills' quarterback situation, but Benjamin also deserves criticism for his inability to get open. He's caught 23 of 62 targets this season for a catch rate of 37.1 percent.

It won't be surprising if someone picks him up due to his first-round pedigree, but it will be surprising if he suddenly starts producing like a former first-round pick. 

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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