Kelvin Benjamin has always been on the big side for a wide receiver. He came into the NFL out of Florida State at 6-feet-5 and 240 pounds. That weight, 240, is what the Panthers have listed him at in each of the last three seasons.
He's apparently quite a bit heavier than that now, though.
"He is a little heavy. He knows it. We've talked about it. We talked about what he has to do, and he's done a great job," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Saturday, per the Charlotte Observer, which noted that Rivera denied the veracity of a report that stated Benjamin showed up for workouts weighing 280 pounds.
"Am I concerned? Yes, because he is heavy. I'm going to admit that right now. But is he working hard? Absolutely. He's been there everyday and done the things we've asked him to do, and it's all strictly on a voluntary basis."
Benjamin has a history of showing up overweight, dating all the way back to his freshman year at FSU. The team redshirted him for that season after he reported out of shape. That happened again in Carolina after his rookie season, the Observer noted, and Rivera theorized at the time that the hamstring issues that plagued him that offseason could have been related to his weight. Benjamin later tore his ACL in training camp.
Rivera told reporters that like everyone else, Benjamin will be subject to fines if he doesn't make weight. "It'll be my job to hold everybody accountable as well to make sure we are where we need to be," Rivera said. "So we'll set those weights. Our guys will follow the rules just like we've always done. Guys will be punished accordingly to what's allowed."
It should be noted that only 20 skill position players have ever caught a pass while weighing (or at least being listed at) 280 pounds or more, per Pro-Football-Reference. Eric Green was the only skill player to weigh that much to ever play at an even remotely high level over a long period of time, and he was a tight end during the 1990s. It's imperative for the Panthers that Benjamin get down to a reasonable playing weight by the time the season rolls around. Luckily, he does have plenty of time to drop whatever excess he's put on.