Patriots Had ‘No Substantial’ Talks With Projected $15 Million Free Agent: Report

The Patriots' Kendrick Bourne.

Getty The Patriots' Kendrick Bourne.

It would not seem wise, at this stage, for New England to lose a useful receiver. And while the Patriots Kendrick Bourne is not quite the No. 1 receiver the team really needs at this point, he could make a respectable No. 2 option or a great third option. He is heading into free agency at a particularly uncertain time—he tore his ACL in Week 8 against the Dolphins—but has made no bones about wanting to remain with the Patriots.

The problem is, with free agency looming, there have been no “substantial” talks on a contract as yet, per reporter Mike Reiss, who did say, at least, that Bourne’s rehab is still running through the team.

“Receiver Kendrick Bourne was back in Foxborough late last week so the team could check in on his recovery from a torn right ACL,” Reiss wrote on Sunday. “Bourne is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, but sources said there have been no substantial contract extension talks at this time.”

Patriots’ Kendrick Bourne Was Having Career Year Before Injury

Bourne had the best season of his career in his first year with the Patriots, where he signed after beginning his career as an undrafted free agent in San Francisco. Bourne went for 800 yards and 55 catches that season, and was on his way to possibly eclipsing those marks in 2023. He was on pace for 853 yards and 79 catches before the injury.

Even despite the injury, Bourne had the second-highest yardage total among all Patriots receivers in 2023.

He spoke with the NFL Network ahead of the Super Bowl and professed his desire to stay in New England.

“Just rehabbing right now, obviously, you know, I dealt with an injury this year,” he said. “Going into free agency but a different kind of aspect. I been through it before one time but I never been hurt. Rehabbing really hard man, and going in, I would love to be a Patriot again, I love the organization I been a part of, they helped me grow also these last few years.

“Now going through injury, it’s a challenge but I was becoming the player I always wanted to be under the organization.”

‘Hopefully It Can Happen Again Over There’

Bourne should not be too expensive to bring back, and the injury could dampen the market for him, though he is expected to be ready for the start of the season. Pro Football Focus has Bourne getting a projected contract worth $14 million over two years.

Spotrac has him getting significantly less, a contract worth just under $15 million over three years. In either case, the Patriots could easily afford to bring him back. The team has more than $70 million in cap space entering free agency, and that number could balloon near $90 million should the team cut J.C. Jackson as expected.

If they want him back, Bourne is ready to sign. But he is also ready for the unexpected.

“Hopefully it can happen again over there but whatever happens I am just working hard to be the player I truly believe I can be, and just help wherever I am just helping, bringing energy, so we’ll see,” Bourne said. “Free agency is just an open book, you never know what’s gonna happen, but I am just excited for the unknown.”

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