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Giants roster moves: Giants sign Kelvin Benjamin to play tight end

The Giants add a familiar face for Dave Gettleman

Oakland Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

The New York Giants announced Sunday morning that they have signed veteran Kelvin Benjamin following a tryout this weekend.

Benjamin was originally drafted 28th overall out of Florida State in the 2014 NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers under Dave Gettleman.

2018 was the last time Benjamin took the field (at the time for the Kansas City Chiefs) and has been out of football since that season.

He is going to get the chance to revive what was, once, a promising NFL career and will be doing so at a new position. Always a big receiver (he was 6-foot-5, 240 pounds with 34 7/8 inch arms and 10 14 inch hands at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine), the Giants signed Benjamin to compete at tight end, which could make use of his size, though his ability to execute the more physical aspects of the position are an unknown.

Benjamin will be competing at a crowded tight end position group, with the depth chart including: Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo, Rysen John (another big WR turned TE), Nakia Griffen-Stewart, and Cole Hikutini.

Giants’ head coach Joe Judge said about Benjamin’s position change, “In terms of Benjamin working different position today, we’re going to work different guys at a variety of things right now. He’s a big guy. He’s always been a big receiver. He’ll work receiver. He’s working a little bit flex tight end as well. I wouldn’t really pin him down to any one position at this point. We’re going to use the weekend to move him around to different spots and see how it works out.”

Benjamin got off to a promising start, with 74 receptions for 1,008 yards (13.8 per catch) and 9 touchdowns as a rookie, following that up with 63 receptions for 941 yards (14.9 per catch) and 7 touchdowns in his second full season in 2016.

However, those were the only two seasons in which Benjamin really lived up to his first round pedigree. He missed the Panthers’ trip to the Super Bowl following a torn ACL suffered in training camp befor the 2015 season. Benjamin was traded from the Panthers to the Buffalo Bills in October of 2017, catching just 48 passes total on the season. He was released by the Bills in December of 2018 following an abysmal season which saw him post the lowest catch rate in the NFL, but was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs two days later. He didn’t appear in any of the Chiefs’ play-off games that year and was cut following the 2018 season.

This is a low-risk signing for the Giants as they see what the former first rounder can offer them.

To make room on the 90-man roster for Benjamin and running back Corey Clement, the Giants waived running back Jordan Chunn and tight end Nate Wieting.