Leading up to the Super Bowl, Travis Benjamin's agent, Ronald Butler, said that the Cleveland Browns had made strides when it came to getting him back into a Browns uniform. The feeling among the local media was that him being back wasn't much more than dotting a few "i's" and crossing a few "t's." At the NFL Combine, though, the tune has suddenly changed drastically, according to Rand Getlin of the NFL Network and Tony Pauline of Draft Insider:
Contract discussions between WR Travis Benjamin and the #Browns have broken down, per his agent @NewButler1. Benjamin will hit the market.— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) February 23, 2016
Word from the combine is receiver Travis Benjamin will test the free agent market & has almost a handful of meetings w/other teams set up.— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) February 23, 2016
Getlin adds that the Browns discussed a contract extension for awhile, but the sides couldn't agree to terms. Now, Butler tells Getlin that he and Benjamin will talk with interested teams at the appropriate time, which would be when the "legal" tampering period begins on March 7th, 2 days before the start of free agency.
The news is disappointing to hear, but not surprising. I was pretty stunned a few weeks ago to hear the teams were so close to a deal. This is a very weak free agent receiving class this year, which means it's the perfect opportunity for Benjamin to break the bank compared to what he's worth.