Heading into Week 3, one positive that can be lodged about Raiders receiver Hunter Renfrow is that he is saying all the right things, and all the right things are being said about him. We’ve heard all the standard platitudes on both sides:
Renfrow has said (via ESPN) that he is fine with his role within the offense, and he understands all he can do is just be ready: “I’m just trying to do my job, to be honest.”
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has said it is on him to get Renfrow some opportunities: “He’s been doing a great job man, just have to find him with the ball.”
Mike Lombardi, the Raiders’ offensive coordinator, has said that Renfrow’s production may be down, but his personal stats are not that important: “We care about team production not individual production.”
And head coach Josh McDaniels pointed to defenses covering the Raiders’ inside routes: “The defense gets a vote.”
That’s a superfecta right there, four different ways to insist that nothing is wrong despite the fact that the Raiders have former Pro Bowl receiver heading into Week 3 who has been targeted once out of 50 pass attempts. Renfrow made that one catch, for 23 yards.
And the folks at Bleacher Report have seen enough. They’re saying it’s time to trade Renfrow—even if that trade sends him to one of Raiders fans’ most-despised non-divisional opponents, the 49ers or the Patriots.
“It seems that Renfrow simply isn’t a great fit for Josh McDaniels’ offense or can’t earn the trust of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo,” B/R wrote. “Either way, the 27-year-old should be available because the Raiders aren’t using him.
“Another team could.”
Raiders Will Be Patient Before Making Trade
Certainly, it is too early now to be thinking of dumping Renfrow in a trade—at 1-1, the Raiders still have time to get their offense into gear and utilize Renfrow more. And Renfrow, for his part, has not been a problem in the locker room. Players who are dealt this far ahead of the October 31 deadline usually are causing an issue within the team (see Cam Akers as an example).
But Renfrow’s poor start to 2023 echoes what happened to him in 2022, when the arrival of McDaniels seemed to completely alter his career trajectory.
In 2021, with Derek Carr at quarterback and Jon Gruden coaching, Renfrow admitted he was able to freelance a bit more with his routes, and the result was 103 catches for 1,036 yards and nine touchdowns.
With McDaniels changing the offense last season (and with a concussion and an oblique injury causing him to miss seven games), Renfrow’s production plummeted to 36 catches and 330 yards.
Of All Teams … the 49ers & Patriots?
The Raiders might not be able to get much for Renfrow at this point, given that they’re selling low. But picking up a draft pick and perhaps a player at least secures something for Renfrow.
Would the Raiders really want to help the 49ers win a championship, though?
“The San Francisco 49ers don’t lack playmakers, but they’re eyeing a Super Bowl run, and Renfrow would be great in Kyle Shanahan’s spacing-based passing attack,” the site wrote. “San Francisco leads the league in cap space and may look to load up for the playoff run.”
And now that the Patriots are down after decades of dominance that started at the expense of the Raiders in the 2001 playoffs, should the Raiders do anything at all to help them back up? McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler did arrive from New England, but the organizational disdain for the Pats runs deep.
Wrote B/R: “McDaniels and Dave Ziegler have added several former Patriots since taking over the front office last offseason. Perhaps they would be willing to send one of their players over to their old home.”