Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow could make sense as a Saints trade target
The New Orleans Saints are bringing back Michael Thomas for the 2023 season, adding him to a receiving corps that includes Chris Olave, Rashid Shaheed, Tre’Quan Smith, Kirk Merritt, Keith Kirkwood, and Kawaan Baker. It’s a good move to bet on the 2019 NFL Offensive Player of the Year if he can finally return to good health, but the Saints need to invest in a contingency plan just in case. His lengthy absences over the last three seasons demand it.
One name to keep an eye on: Hunter Renfrow. The Las Vegas Raiders receiver is a slot specialist, having lined up in the slot on 86%, 64%, 63%, and 71% of his routes over the last four years. He’s been very effective on third downs throughout his career, being targeted 118 times there while catching 88 passes to convert a first down on 58 of them. And he’s been dangerous in scoring position with 15 touchdown catches on 33 receptions inside the opposing 20-yard line.
He also established a quick connection with Derek Carr as a rookie in 2019, peaking with a 111-catch season in 2021 when they were running Jon Gruden’s West Coast-style offense. The switch to Josh McDaniels’ system in 2022 saw a reduced role for Renfrow, who averaged a career-low 33 receiving yards per game while struggling with an injury.
But Gruden’s offense shares many foundations with the Sean Payton-built system that Pete Carmichael Jr. and the Saints are running now, and it’s reasonable to think Renfrow could reestablish himself with Carr in a change of scenery. The Raiders just signed free agent receiver Jakobi Meyers to a new contract, so Renfrow might not be a big part of their plans for 2023 and beyond.
So what could a trade look like? Renfrow is still under contract for 2023 and 2024, with an acquiring team taking on a two-year contract valued at $23.4 million if he is traded by Friday afternoon (when a $4.3 million roster bonus payment is due). If Renfrow is traded after that deadline, the Raiders will pay his roster bonus and he’ll only cost a new team $19.1 million over two years. That’s still a bit steep for a No. 3 wide receiver, but that’s the price of receivers these days.
There’s a lot of fans of Shaheed in New Orleans, but the Saints might want a more proven option as their third receiver behind Thomas and Olave (which would allow them to dictate Shaheed’s matchups when going four-wide). If the Saints could acquire Renfrow for a late-round pick in 2023 or 2024, it’s worth at least making a call.
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