Chargers Free Agency

Chargers: Implications of Travis Benjamin’s contract extension

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 02: Travis Benjamin #12 of the Los Angeles Chargers catches a pass for a 46 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 02: Travis Benjamin #12 of the Los Angeles Chargers catches a pass for a 46 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 2, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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After some uncertainty surrounding Travis Benjamin’s status, the Chargers make him remaining with the team official with a contract extension…

The Chargers officially extend wide receiver Travis Benjamin through the 2020 season, giving themselves cap flexibility this year. This move comes with several implications for both the player and the organization.

Benjamin’s extension confirms he will return for the season, which comes as no surprise. However, with it becoming official, it all but ensures the Chargers will not take a receiver high in the draft. It’s not that the team believes Benjamin assumes the role of Tyrell Williams, but rather they are comfortable with Mike Williams and Keenan Allen as starters with Benjamin and others on the roster filling out depth. There was never a pressing need to take a receiver, but if Benjamin is staying, there is no need to invest more capital in the position early.

Unfortunately for No. 12, the deferred money to 2020 hints that this year is his final year with the organization, barring spectacular play and production.

Source: the Chargers and WR Travis Benjamin have agreed to a one-year extension through 2020. It includes a $5.5M signing bonus, while his base salary for 2019 reduces from $5.25M to $1M. Benjamin’s roster spot for 2019 is secured, while the team creates $2.75M in cap space.

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) April 16, 2019

The team creates cap space for themselves this season, opting to neither cut him nor ask him for a pay cut. Fans potentially unhappy with the extension can expect the deep threat receiver to be gone in 2020 if his 2018 production (12 catches, 186 yards) remains the same.

Most importantly, the Chargers now have more room to sign free agents following the 2019 NFL Draft. If the Chargers miss out on a defensive tackle or right tackle, they can find one in free agency as a “Plan B.” This is not an extension that creates a massive amount of cap space, though, so a name like Ndamukong Suh is still unlikely. The Chargers have a massive opportunity to land good safeties in the first or second round of this draft, but also have a reliable, cheap, and team-familiar option in Tre Boston still on the open market.

Next. The Day 3 receiver the Chargers should target

After Dalton Risner, who may even become a guard himself, the Chargers’ options at right tackle become a bit murky. Some, like Kaleb McGary, could switch to guard. Tytus Howard and Chuma Edoga, a third or fourth round pick, are projects. If the Bolts miss out on their first round tackle, they don’t have to peg a developmental player later on as the starter-or-bust. Expect Sam Tevi to be labeled the starter at that point, but be on the look out for a competition battle with a veteran brought in free agency.

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