It’s not Tim Tebow signing with the Jaguars to play tight end, but it might not be far off.
Veteran wideout Kelvin Benjamin will try out for the Giants during this weekend’s rookie minicamp, a source confirmed Thursday night.
NFL teams are allowed to host up to five veteran players for tryouts at their post-draft rookie minicamp.
Benjamin, 30, has not played in the league since 2018. He played for the three teams in five years after Dave Gettleman drafted him in 2014 for Carolina in the first round, 16 picks after the Giants took Odell Beckham Jr.
Benjamin’s promising talent was derailed by early injuries and conditioning issues.
His presence at this camp, first reported by ESPN, could be part of a dramatic over-correction by the Giants to upgrade their receiver position, which hasn’t been the same since Gettleman traded Beckham to the Cleveland Browns in March 2019.
Either that or they’re going to try out Benjamin at tight end, where some teams projected him coming out of Florida State. That might make the only sense if he wants to find a spot on the roster.
Joe Judge and Jason Garrett wanted bigger targets for Daniel Jones this offseason, which is why the Giants signed Kenny Golladay and Kyle Rudolph. Benjamin stands 6-foot-5 and checked in at 245 pounds with the Chiefs, his final stop in 2018 (he also played for the Bills).
But it should be impossible for Benjamin to make this team at receiver considering the Kadarius Toney first-round pick, the Golladay and John Ross signings, and the presence of incumbents Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton.
Benjamin doesn’t play special teams, either, which wouldn’t help his cause competing with depth players C.J. Board, Austin Mack, Dante Pettis, David Sills, Alex Bachman and Derrick Dillon.
There is also still a chance the Giants could re-sign special teams ace wideout Cody Core.
Click Here: Brazil football tracksuit
Core was cut in March to save $2 million in cap space, avoid a $500,000 roster bonus as he rehabs last year’s torn Achilles, and enable the team to use the cheaper minimum salary benefit ($850,000 cap hit) on a reunion.
If he came back, he would be infinitely more useful to the Giants than a player like Benjamin.
If Benjamin played tight end, at least he’d get on the field on offense at times, maybe. The tight end depth chart for now features Rudolph, Evan Engram, Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo, Cole Hikutini, Rysen John, Nakia Griffin-Stewart and Nate Wieting.
Rudolph is recovering from spring foot surgery. He expects to be ready for the season, but maybe the Giants are pursuing some insurance in the short term.
Regardless, seeing Benjamin on the field this weekend at Quest Diagnostics Training Center definitely will be a blast from the past.
The Giants are expecting approximately 22 players at this weekend’s three-day rookie minicamp in East Rutherford, which will feature two afternoon practices open to the media on Friday and Saturday.
The total number of players is smaller than usual due to COVID-19 protocols. So the team’s work will emphasize individual drills.
Three of the Giants’ six draft picks signed their rookie contracts on Thursday: second-round edge Azeez Ojulari and their pair of sixth rounders, running back Gary Brightwell and corner Rodarius Williams.
Their three undrafted rookies also signed: center Brett Heggie, guard Jake Burton and defensive end Raymond Johnson III.
The Giants also released veteran defensive end Breeland Speaks, 25, a former Chiefs second-round pick who, like Benjamin, hadn’t played in the league since 2018. Speaks was a reserve/future signing in January and hadn’t yet practiced with the team.
Quarterback Clayton Thorson, 25, should be on the field this weekend even though he was on the Giants’ roster last season. Quarterbacks with zero credited seasons who signed a contract the prior league year are eligible.
So are non-QBs with zero credited seasons who signed the previous year, meaning returning players like Dillon, Bachman and corner Jarren Williams should be on the field, among others.
Shepard changed his jersey number from 87 to 3, and the rookies also got their new numbers. These are subject to change: Toney (89), Ojulari (51), corner Aaron Robinson (33), edge Elerson Smith (58), Brightwell (37), Williams (25), Heggie (61), Burton (70) and Johnson III (91).