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Playmaking Receiver Likely To Hit Free Agency, Won’t Re-Sign Before League Year

According to the latest reports, wide receiver Kendrick Bourne will not re-sign with the New England Patriots before free agency.
Kendrick Bourne Free Agency

New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne might not be the biggest name set to hit free agency, but is a talented player. Originally entering the league with the San Francisco 49ers, the Eastern Washington product was one of the few bright spots on New England’s offense last year. Appearing in eight games, the shifty wideout recorded 37 receptions for 406 yards and four touchdowns while serving as the focal point in the passing attack.

Bourne was on pace for the best season of his career before suffering a season-ending injury against the Miami Dolphins. Despite the injury, Bourne and the Patriots appeared to working towards a reunion, with his agent going so far as to post a picture of himself at Gillette Stadium with “New Money” playing.

Despite this tweet, a recent report by Aaron Wilson states that Kendrick Bourne will reach free agency. The two sides have apparently not made enough progress and the seven-year veteran could leave for a new team.

No New Deal Coming Between Patriots, Kendrick Bourne – Receiver Will Test Free Agency (Report)

There are two interesting things to note in Wilson’s report. For one, Kendrick Bourne appears to be hitting free agency with a clean bill of health. The wideout originally suffered his injury in late October, and while he probably couldn’t play a game tomorrow, he should be ready for the start of the season.

Additionally, Bourne is expected to have a strong market. This comes as no surprise, as a healthy version of Kendrick Bourne is one of the better players likely to make it to free agency. While he’s no Mike Evans, he can easily improve most passing attacks in the league.

It’s also worth noting that Kendrick Bourne could still return to the Patriots in free agency. Historically speaking, when the Patriots and one of their free agents can’t come to terms on a deal, New England lets the market dictate a player’s price. Chances are, Bourne will shop around, come back with the best offer, and allow the Patriots to match. If New England doesn’t do that, however, these five teams could take him away.

Possible Team Fits

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs will need better wide receivers if they want to pull off a three-peat. While Rashee Rice looks like a future building block, the rest of the depth chart leaves a lot to be desired. With Chris Jones and L’Jarius Sneed both headed for the open market, the Chiefs might not be able to pay for a top-of-the-market receiver like Mike Evans. Instead, they could take a cost-effective player like Kendrick Bourne in free agency. Bourne won’t cost nearly as much, and his shifty, quick style of play is a natural fit for Andy Reid’s offense.

Buffalo Bills

Stefon Diggs is getting older, Gabriel Davis will likely leave in free agency, and the team is $41.3 million over the salary cap. This team will need to find some cost-effective ways to build their roster, and signing Kendrick Bourne in free agency might be the way to get the job done. Bourne’s ability to get open in the intermediate part of the field is a great match for Josh Allen and he should make an immediate impact for this organization.

New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints are once again working their way out of salary cap hell as they try to put together a playoff-caliber roster. With Michael Thomas almost certainly gone, Mickey Loomis will need to find somebody to start opposite Chris Olave. Kendrick Bourne could be the ideal find in free agency, as he cand work the short and intermediate routes that made Thomas so great back in the day. This will also free up Rashid Shaheed to be the primary deep threat, which is what he’s best at.

Carolina Panthers

Will Kendrick Bourne singlehandedly save the Panthers in free agency? Probably not. However, the Panthers need all the help they can get, and Bourne would easily be an upgrade. Jonathan Mingo headlined a poor Panthers draft class, and while it’s too early to completely give up on the rookie, they shouldn’t count on him for anything. Bourne can provide a much-needed reliable target for Bryce Young, and if paired with someone like Mike Evans, will give the Alabama product a realistic shot at success.

New York Jets

Garrett Wilson is one of the best young receivers in the league, but the rest of the depth chart is in rough shape. Allen Lazard couldn’t do anything without Aaron Rodgers, and Xavier Gipson and Jason Brownlee aren’t anything to write home about. Kenrick Bourne is an ideal match in free agency, as his name is similar to a young Randall Cobb. Rodgers obviously likes Cobb and his style of play, so he should welcome a relatively familiar playmaker.

Main Photo: Bob DeChiara – USA Today Sports


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