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ESPN-proposed trade would see Patriots, Raiders swap wide receivers

The New England Patriots’ offense is broken right now, which might make for an interesting trade deadline later this month. What will happen will be determined by the next few games, but one trade proposed by ESPN’s Bill Barnwell would see the Patriots part ways with their current No. 1 wide receiver.

In this scenario, Kendrick Bourne, who leads the team with 18 catches for 218 yards and a pair of touchdowns, would be sent to the Las Vegas Raiders. In return, New England would receive a 2025 seventh-round draft pick plus fellow wideout Hunter Renfrow.

Patriots, Raiders swap out-of-favor wide receivers

Patriots get: WR Hunter Renfrow, 2025 seventh-round pick

Raiders get: WR Kendrick Bourne

When Josh McDaniels took over as Raiders coach in 2022, Renfrow seemed like an easy fit. The former Patriots coordinator who had overseen huge years for Wes Welker and Julian Edelman would plug Renfrow into the slot role and reap the benefits. Renfrow was coming off a career year with 103 catches and nine touchdowns, and the Raiders signed him to a two-year, $32.3 million extension, seemingly confirming he would be a significant portion of their offense alongside Davante Adams and Darren Waller.

It hasn’t worked out that way. Renfrow struggled through injuries in a lost 2022 season, and after the Raiders signed Jakobi Meyers in March, they’ve buried Renfrow on the depth chart. The 27-year-old has six catches through five games, and he lost his duties as the punt returner to DeAndre Carter. His career has stalled out, and Las Vegas seems sure to cut him and free up $8.2 million in cap space after the season.

Renfrow appeared like the sort of player the Patriots could target when he entered the league, and after years of whiffing on wide receiver additions, they desperately need someone who can beat man coverage and give quarterback Mac Jones a reliable safety valve. Meyers was that player for the Pats in years past. Bourne, who had a solid season under McDaniels in 2021, would get his own fresh start after losing his role in 2022 and struggling to make a consistent impact this season.

The Patriots aren’t in a position to be adding players solely for the purpose of winning in 2023, but this would be a trade about keeping Jones’ head above water during the second half of the campaign and seeing if they can get more out of Renfrow than the Raiders have. In all, the Patriots would take on about $1.3 million in additional costs by swapping out Bourne for Renfrow, which is why they get the extra seventh-round pick.

While Renfrow managed to gain over 1,000 yards just two years ago, he has played only a limited role in a Patriots-like system since Josh McDaniels’ arrival. Adding him, especially in exchange for one of the few positive players on a largely disappointing Patriots offense this year, would qualify as a surprise.