The 49ers replace Emmanuel Sanders with Travis Benjamin
The San Francisco 49ers entered the wide receiver market after losing Emmanuel Sanders to the New Orleans Saints, signing former Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin to a one-year deal (per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Benjamin played in just five games last season, having six catches for 30 yards. He was placed on injured reserve in October with a quad injury. His career with the Chargers was a disappointment after landing a four-year, $24 million deal with the team in 2016, finishing with just 99 catches for 1,460 yards and nine touchdowns in four seasons with the team.
Benjamin’s best NFL season came in 2015 with the Cleveland Browns, when he caught a career-high 68 balls for 966 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 14.2 yards per catch. His numbers have been in decline since, even though he caught 47 passes for 644 yards and four touchdowns in his first season with the Chargers (2016).
Benjamin has 208 catches for 3,142 yards and 19 touchdowns in eight seasons. A fourth-round pick of the Browns in 2012, Benjamin has averaged over 15 yards per catch in five of his eight seasons.
The 49ers lost Sanders in free agency, even though they have plenty of depth at wide receiver. Deebo Samuel (57 catches, 802 yards, three touchdowns) returns as their leading wideout from last season, but there is expected to be competition for playing time at the other spots. Marquise Goodwin (12 catches, 186 yards, touchdown in nine games) and Kendrick Bourne (30 catches, 358 yards, five touchdowns) are still on the roster while Dante Pettis (11 catches, 109 yards, two touchdowns) will look for a bounce back 2020 season and 2019 third-round pick Jalen Hurd is coming off a back injury that derailed his rookie campaign.
Signing Benjamin gives San Francisco a much-needed veteran presence in its wide receiver corps, which the 49ers lost when Sanders departed last week.