Bills Could Steal No. 1 Wide Receiver From Division Rival: Insider

Kendrick Bourne

Getty Kendrick Bourne's potential replacement for the New England Patriots is using being snubbed against the Miami Dolphins as "fuel."

The Buffalo Bills pursued wide receiver Kendrick Bourne when he first hit free agency in 2021, but ultimately lost out to the New England Patriots.

The Bills may be ready to take a second run at the veteran receiver, with an insider reporting that they are prepared to “swoop in” and snag Bourne if the Patriots aren’t able to re-sign him. Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald reported that the Bills — along with the New York Jets and Los Angeles Rams — could plan to pursue Bourne as he heads back to unrestricted free agency at the start of the new league year in March.

Bills Looking at Reliable Receiver

Bourne has been a reliable target since joining the Patriots in 2021, making 127 receptions for 1,640 yards with 10 touchdowns in 41 games. Bourne was the team’s No. 1 receiver through the first half of the 2023 season, leading the Patriots in receptions (37), receiving yards (406) and touchdowns (4) before suffering a torn ACL in an October loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Callahan noted that Bourne is predicted to garner significant interest in free agency, with another AFC East rival expected to join the Bills in pursuing him.

“According to one source familiar with the wide receiver market, if the Pats do not re-sign Bourne, history indicates they might lose him to a division foe,” Callahan wrote for the Boston Herald. “The Jets were among the teams that showed interest in Bourne over the last 18 months, when a Patriots source said their front office received trade calls at the end of training camp in 2022 and 2023. The Pats told those teams, including the Raiders and Rams, that Bourne was not available and kept him through his ACL tear late last October. Prior to signing with the Patriots as a free agent in 2021, Bourne also received interest from the Bills and Texans, per source.”

Other Receiving Targets for the Bills

With the Bills expected to lose No. 2 receiver Gabe Davis in free agency and veteran Trent Sherfield potentially leaving as well, many insiders predict that they will prioritize the position in the offseason. Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey suggested that the Bills will target one of the more affordable pass-catchers on the free-agent market.

“Buffalo should look to the second tier of wide receiver free agents to add to [Stefon] Diggs, [Khalil] Shakir, Dalton Kincaid and Dawson Knox in the passing attack,” Tansey wrote.

“Jauan Jennings, D.J. Chark, Josh Reynolds and K.J. Osborn are among the potential candidates the Bills could look at to upgrade from Davis.”

The Bills are also expected to look for a receiver in the draft, with many predicting they will use their first-round pick to find a new counterpart for Diggs. Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports had the Bills picking Oregon receiver Troy Franklin in his mock draft, predicting that the big target could be a boost for Josh Allen and the passing game.

“Franklin is a tall speedster whose numbers increased in each of his three seasons at Oregon,” Trapasso wrote. “There’s some after-the-catch juice to his game too. Precisely what the Bills need offensively.”

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