The Raiders have claimed Kenbrell Thompkins off waivers from the Patriots, a league source tells Albert Breer of the NFL Network (via Twitter). At 0-4, Oakland was near the top of the waiver priority list, so it’s possible that the club beat out other interested teams for Thompkins’ services.
Thompkins, 26, stuck with the Patriots in 2013 after being signed as an undrafted free agent, impressing at times during his rookie campaign. He caught 32 passes for 466 yards and four touchdowns in eight starts last season, but wasn’t a major part of New England’s passing attack early this season, and was cut on Saturday.
Weekend reports suggested the move was the result of the Patriots’ roster crunch rather than Thompkins’ talent, and indicated that New England may have interest in re-signing the wideout to its practice squad. However, Bill Belichick and the Pats didn’t receive that opportunity.
As Adam Caplan of ESPN.com observes (via Twitter), Oakland was in need of a receiver with speed, and Thompkins fits that bill nicely. No corresponding roster move will be necessary for the Raiders, since they had been carrying just 52 players on their roster.