The Detroit Lions have been a team floated as a possible landing spot for several different veteran wide receivers this offseason.
One interesting possibility for the Lions if they targeted a secondary weapon in a receiver acquisition is Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.
With the arrival of Davante Adams last year, Renfrow played a smaller role in the Raiders offense in 2022. He also missed seven games because of a concussion.
On June 5, Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox identified Renfrow as the one player the Raiders should consider trading before the 2023 season.
If the Raiders shopped Renfrow, the Lions should be interested.
Could the Lions Be Interested in Trading for Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow?
At about the same time Knox suggested Renfrow as a trade candidate for the Raiders, A to Z Sports’ Jack Gentry proposed the Lions as a possible destination for the 27-year-old wideout.
“Las Vegas signed receivers Jakobi Myers and Deandre Carter this offseason, which likely buries Renfrow deeper on the depth chart,” Gentry wrote. “With just one year left on his contract, the Lions should be able to pry him away from the Raiders without being forced to give up a high draft pick.
“Renfrow makes even more sense for the Lions who will be without Jameson Williams for the first six games of the regular season. If Detroit is committed to creating a dynamic passing attack, general manager Brad Holmes must put in a call to the raiders’ brass at the bare minimum.”
With the arrival of Adams and concussion issues, Renfrow went from a 100-catch, 1,000-yard receiver in 2021 to a guy who caught just 36 passes for 330 yards in 2022. His touchdowns also dropped from 9 in 2021 to 2 in 2022.
In addition to Adams, the emergence of Mack Hollins cut into Renfrow’s opportunities last season. Hollins left for the Atlanta Falcons in free agency, but as Gentry noted, Las Vegas signed other veteran receivers, Jacob Myers and Deandre Carter, who could continue to limit Renfrow’s chances at significant playing time.
The Lions may be able to land Renfrow for a Day 3 draft selection.
What Renfrow Could Offer the Lions
Detroit doesn’t have a very deep receiving core to begin with, but as Gentry also pointed out, Jameson Williams will miss the first six games. Williams will sit those contests because of a gambling suspension.
Renfrow obviously doesn’t directly replace Williams’ speed. But neither would any of the other potential receivers the Lions might add this summer.
What Renfrow would supply the Lions and quarterback Jared Goff is a reliable target in the slot. The 27-year-old played about 86% of his offensive snaps in the slot last season. He’s only averaged 10.8 yards per catch in his four-year career, but Renfrow has also caught nearly 75% of his targets.
He’s a chain mover and could be particularly useful in that role in an offense that features other dynamic playmakers such as Amon-Ra St. Brown, Marvin Jones, Jahmyr Gibbs, David Montgomery and Sam LaPorta.
When Williams returns, Renfrow could find himself even more open with opposing defenses worried about the second-year wideout blowing the top off the secondary with his speed.
There’s also little risk with the Lions acquiring Renfrow. Signing Hopkins won’t cost anything, but his presence could cut into Williams’ playing time after Week 6.
Renfrow won’t be stealing snaps from anyone else. If he doesn’t work out, the Lions can allow him to leave in free agency next spring and only lose the late draft pick it would cost to acquire him.
The reward Renfrow offers as a dependable, veteran slot wideout, though, is enough that the Lions should consider him a potential trade target before the season.