The Panthers are looking to avoid an 0-4 start as they host the winless Vikings on Sunday. But they're not thinking like a rebuilding team in at least one area, according to NFL Media, privately making an "active" effort to land a starting wide receiver via trade.
Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark currently serve as Carolina's top two targets in the pass game, but which wideouts could be feasible acquisitions before this year's Oct. 31 in-season trade deadline? Here are five possibilities:
"Hollywood" has battled nagging injuries since arriving as a first-rounder in 2019, but his elite deep speed helped him top 700 yards in three straight seasons from 2020-2022, including a career-best 1,000-yard campaign with the Ravens. He's best suited as a big-play complement to an alpha No. 1, but he'd represent a field-stretching upgrade for Carolina. Rebuilding Arizona, meanwhile, shouldn't be averse to moving him as he approaches 2024 free agency.
The diminutive speedster is just two years removed from a 1,000-yard breakout in which he starred as a rare bright spot for Chicago's offense, but with D.J. Moore in town as the highly paid No. 1 and his early 2023 production reduced as part of an even worse Bears attack, Mooney could be one of Chicago's few decent trade chips as a scheduled 2024 free agent.
A year after inking a $32 million extension, which he earned thanks to a 103-catch showcase as the Raiders' top possession target, Renfrow is on the outside looking in as part of a Las Vegas WR corps headlined by Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers. Durability is a constant concern due to his size and over-the-middle frequency, but when healthy, he's proven to be a quality safety valve.
The Vikings like to deploy Osborn as a chess piece, moving him around while Justin Jefferson owns the stat sheet. But Jefferson will command record money in a matter of time, and rookie Jordan Addison could follow as the clear-cut No. 2 of the future. Facing an 0-4 start of their own, the Vikings could be motivated to sell, and Osborn's contract is due to expire following the season.
It's been a half-decade since Shepard was healthy enough to play a full season, but when he's active, he's been a moderately reliable secondary target, eclipsing 500 yards in each of his first five NFL seasons. He'd profile more as a low-risk, medium-reward gamble, but the cost would almost certainly be minimal in a crowded Giants WR corps full of interchangeable slot veterans.