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Next Man Up: Hunter Renfrow

A contract extension for the Raiders talented wide receiver is a must-happen thing

NFL: Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders
When it comes to contract-extension eligible Raiders, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, left, is a logical candidate to haul in solid coin.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Dave Ziegler hasn’t been shying about giving out some long-term security to players who have earned it. As evidenced by the Las Vegas Raiders general manager’s contract extensions with both defensive end Maxx Crosby and quarterback Derek Carr, recently.

The stalwart pass rusher and signal caller put pen to paper on big-money deals (four-year, $94 million for Crosby, three-year, $120.5 million for Carr) to secure themselves both financially and roster-wise as Raiders.

The logical next man up to get extended is wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. A hard working, self-effusing player who has earned the trust of Carr and the coaching staff (previous, of course), Renfrow blossomed this past season by leading the Raiders in all major receiving categories posting an impressive 103-catch, 1,038-yard, nine-touchdown campaign. He was targeted 128 times snaring a 80.5 percent catch rate. Nearly half of his 103 catches were for first downs (51) which makes the moniker Third-and-Renfrow well-earned.

Locking in the slot dynamo for the foreseeable future is a must-happen type maneuver for the Silver & Black. Renfrow is a homegrown fifth-round talent that’s developed into a must-account-for weapon in the Raiders offense. He diligently goes about his work and provides accountability and efficiency, something that Carr appreciates. He even responded to a tweet about how the Raiders should acquire and pay disgruntled San Francisco 49ers do-it-all wideout Deebo Samuel, referencing Renfrow.

Renfrow isn’t going to wow you with his 5-foot-10, 185-pound frame, but what he gets out of that body is exemplary. A precise route-runner who is a dependable target that can consistently create separation and finds the holes in the defense to provide a sure-handed target for the quarterback, Renfrow is the type of player team’s covet and want to keep long term.

Ziegler knows it.

“A very talented player. I’ve been asked about him in the past and he’s just he’s a gritty guy, knows how to get open, knows how to win on third down, has some return experience, is good after the catch,” Ziegler said during his Wednesday press conference from Raiders HQ in Henderson. “So, yes, Hunter is a good football player and has a good a lot of good elements that allow him to be successful on Sundays, which is important. And he’s a young player.”

Hence the must-happen notion for a contract extension. Renfrow is 26 years old (will be 27 next December) and on an upward trajectory as a trusted target int he Raiders receiving game. While some may point to the absence of tight end Darren Waller and the subtraction of wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (off-field incident) from the Silver & Black passing attack as a reason why Renfrow was heavily used, one can’t question what he did with those targets. Even if he doesn’t see the same 100-plus volume this coming season — the addition of Davante Adams as the unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver and a healthy Renfrow likely eat into targets — Renfrow won’t cause a fuss. He’ll merely do what he does best — work.

Just don’t expect Ziegler to give you any insight on how a potential long-term pact is going. Mums the word from the Raider chief personnel decision maker.

“So, like I’ve said before, when we talked about, I think it was Derek [Carr] at the owners meeting, relative to contracts and things like that, we’re always going to keep those things in house and keep those discussions private,” Ziegler said. “Hunter’s going to be no different in that regard, but we’re excited that he’s on the team. We love good receivers and, you know, he’s one of them.”

Yet, Ziegler said the same thing when asked about the lull in coming to terms with Carr, noting the Raiders and Carr’s agent needed to find the sweet spot in negotiations. It was found, weeks later, as DC4 and the Raiders inked the three-year extension.

Perhaps similar circumstance with Renfrow?

What’s It Going To Cost?

On the final year of his four-year rookie deal, Renfrow is set to earn $2.5 million in base salary this coming season. Depending on which source you use — in this case OverTheCap (OTC) and Spotrac — Renfrow’s current pact has him 271 out of 380 wide receivers (OTC) or 135th out of wideouts (Spotrac). Based on 2021 production, he’s outplayed the rookie pact.

An extension can arrive soon or after the 2022 campaign, and perhaps it would be beneficial for team and player to see how the upcoming season goes. Player and agent bank on improved performance in the coming year to up the coin or a “down” performance compared to Renfrow’s 2021 numbers lets the Raiders negotiate down for the sweet spot.

But it’s good to look at projected numbers. In Renfrow’s case, Spotrac valuation of a new deal for the wide receiver to be at $17 million annually based on performance and production. The overall contract Spotrac project is a four-year, $68.08 million contract. This is based on average contract of other wide receivers who produced similar numbers, according to Spotrac. That market valuation and contract would make Renfrow the No. 9 overall paid receiver in the league.

Just how accurate or close to the target is Spotrac’s valuations?

The site had Derek Carr’s market value — before he signed his extension — at $37.3 million annually on a four-year, $149.325 million contract. Carr’s new three-year pact will see him earn base salaries of $32.9 million (2023), $41.9 million (2024), and $41.2 million (2025). So, not too far off.