Patriots, WR Kendrick Bourne Have Not Held Contract Talks

Regardless of who will be under center for the Patriots in 2024, improvement in the passing game will be needed. New pass-catchers will no doubt be a priority for the team, but Kendrick Bourne is one of the incumbent options who could be retained on a new deal.

Bourne is a pending free agent after playing out the three-year, $15MM contract he signed in 2021. That deal came after his four-year tenure with the 49ers, though it did not entirely go according to plan. The former UDFA saw a downturn in playing time during the 2022 season after posting a career-high 55-800-5 statline the year before. Bourne’s third New England campaign came to an abrupt end in October due to an ACL tear.

The 28-year-old is on track to be ready for Week 1 of the the 2024 season, one which he hopes will allow him to continue his time with the Patriots. However, ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports that “no substantial” talks have taken place on a new contract to date. As a result, Bourne is on track to reach the open market once the new league year begins in March.

Given his injury and modest receiving totals for two of his New England campaigns, the Eastern Washington product could be hard-pressed to land a lucrative deal from an outside suitor. More accomplished wideouts like Michael Pittman Jr., Mike Evans and Calvin Ridley are among the headlining members of the 2024 free agent class, and Bourne would check in as a member of a lower tier for available options on the market. Looking to take a step forward in passing efficiency, the Patriots could also elect to turn elsewhere at the WR position this offseason.

New England already has veterans JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeVante Parker on the books for the next two years. The team also has Demario Douglas and Tyquan Thornton as recent draftees set to hold a receiving role in 2024 and beyond. A big-money addition in free agency will be possible given the Patriots’ cap situation, though the team has a number of other roster holes which need to be addressed this offseason. As things stand, Bourne could be headed to a new environment relatively soon, but there is still time for his desire to work out a new contract to be reciprocated.

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