Allow me to say I know this idea and any type of negotiations are years away, nevertheless this idea needs to be brought up.
We all know they type of player Kelvin Benjamin is. We saw that his rookie year when he burst into the NLF for 1009 yards and 9 TDs, seemingly smirking when he would catch a ball over the coverage of a rival CB. It was not until the NFC championship game in Seattle that we really saw who this kid was and learned he was something we had never seen before. A giant standing as tall as any WR the NFL has ever seen at 6’6” and as wide and as girthy as most NFL TEs at 250 lbs. The size of a giant and the attitude of one former Panther “Steve Smith”. This became evident when he caught a TD on Richard Sherman looked up at him and said “I’m gonna keep coming all day!” and then caught another one. Now after missing a year due to a knee injury, he looks ready to come back and continue his dominant ways.
Devin Funchess is much harder to read; he took till week 7 to even have an impact game as a rookie but after that he went off. In the following weeks he went on to become a more consistent target for Cam Newton. He is big 6’4” and 230 lbs and he plays the game fast. He runs good routes and highpoints the ball very well. Recently it’s being said Funchess is “light years ahead of last year “, this makes me happy. Funch and KB have similar skill sets, yet each one stands out. The one area Funch could improve in is his self confidence vs top corner. KB is able to dominate a top CB or FS, even both at the same time, and he knows he can make the play because he is relied upon to make the big play, that is confidence. On most teams Funchess would be a number one receiver, but the Panthers are not most teams and Kelvin is not most players.
Now this being said, why should we lock up both?
It’s simple Cam will be able to count on both! Kelvin commands a double team in coverage no matter how much talent is on him (just check his stats when covered by both Sherman and Thomas), KB still gets the job done. Funchess is a physical mismatch for some elite NFL corners but we haven’t yet seen Funch vs top flight corners. And now with KB around, Funchess will rarely have to face top corners. Now this idea makes it so that lower level guys and lower paid guys in the depth chart look so much better because they are not relied upon as heavily and also do not have to face top tier cornerbacks. The versatility of Funchess allows the Panthers to bring in players to be nitch guys. Guys with blazing deep speed or 3rd down conversion guys. There are both among the 14 receivers we have in camp.
As far as the running game would be concerned well this idea can save you money! We don’t live in an NFL that has many elite backs and finding one is very hard. Even more difficult is keeping one without breaking the bank. I do not believe in paying running backs big money, they are hurt to often and when one goes cold it ruins your game or games. I believe in the idea that you keep 3-4 backs and ride the hot hand (much like how the Patriots do it), this saves money but it can also be bad if the rest of the team is not set up right. The Pats are able to get away with this because they have a top level QB and having two quality receivers who can create space. The idea of using multiple backs allows the offense to keep the defense guessing as to what the offense will do. Its not as simple as one back to carry the load and a switch on 3rd down. Defenses against Carolina will have to put 6 in the box vs Carolina because that defense has to cover guys like Kelvin, Funchess, and Olsen.
Cheap vets and rookie contract RBs are the way I would build a team, big receivers can provide significant downfield blocking which is necessary for big run plays. Not to say I wouldn’t draft a RB high but once he starts asking for 13 mill a year we know Dave will let him walk.
One player doesn’t make a team but a duo like Kelvin and Funchess will make so many mismatches for Cam, that he will be able to use the entire offense as weapons for attacking the opposing defense. Also these, Twin Towers, will make it so teams shouldn't blitz but should they try to blitz, take a look at Cam’s numbers from last year and tell them to with KB back, those numbers are expected to go up. It will be costly keeping both but at the end of the day I think they will end up being the best WR duo we have in the NFL, and potentially the best duo in Panthers history.
JP aka The Pope