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McDermott on cutting Benjamin: 'It didn't work for us'

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The Buffalo Bills shook up their wide receiver corps Tuesday by cutting ties with veterans Kelvin Benjamin and Andre Holmes.

Holmes was an undercard to the news.

The same can't be said for Benjamin, who the Bills invested heavily in by sending third- and seventh-round draft picks to the Carolina Panthers to acquire the former first-round pick of the 2014 draft. Benjamin officially cleared waivers on Wednesday and is now a free agent.

Bills head coach Sean McDermott addressed the media Wednesday, but declined to go into the specific reasons behind Benjamin's release.

"I'm not going into all those," McDermott told reporters Wednesday. "At the end of the day, it didn't work for us."

The Bills head coach added the importance for the team to "take swings" with the hopes on hitting on a player. And that scenario perfectly described what happened when Buffalo acquired Benjamin's services from Carolina with the view to make him the No. 1 receiver.

Benjamin didn't provide a good return on the team's investment, however, as he produced a paltry 39 catches for 571 yards and two touchdowns since arriving in Buffalo. Through 13 games with 12 starts this season, Benjamin totaled 23 catches on 62 targets for a dismal 37.1 catch percentage.

The Bills ultimately saw enough before electing to go a different direction.

"We stepped up to the plate and you take a swing," McDermott said. "Some of those are going work and some aren't, but the only way you get a hit is you take a swing.

"And just as important for us, I believe, is when things are no longer right for us as our football team and where we are, the vision we're trying to chase, that we move forward and that's what we did."

The timing of his release couldn't come at worst time for Benjamin, who was playing the 2018 season on a fifth-year option that Buffalo absorbed in the trade with Carolina.

Barring a team claiming Benjamin off waivers or signing him before the end of the regular season, Benjamin was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019. And given the lack of production over the past two seasons, he likely cost himself a large pay raise.

In the meantime, McDermott thanked Benjamin and Holmes for their contributions and wished the two players well, adding the final four games will provide younger players at the wide receiver position the chance to step up.

"We're going to move forward and develop these young players," McDermott said. "And like I said, they given us, they've earned that right to be given more opportunities."

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