Unfortunately for some former San Francisco 49ers, the grass isn’t always greener after signing a wealthy deal.
Such is the case now for one member of the 49ers’ 2019 season NFC title winning team Kendrick Bourne. Per ESPN NFL insider Bill Barnwell on Tuesday, May 16, the veteran who once signed a three-year, $15 million deal with the New England Patriots is in danger of losing his roster spot.
“The Patriots aren’t overwhelmed with stars at wide receiver, but new addition JuJu Smith-Schuster will be playing ahead of holdovers Tyquan Thornton, DeVante Parker and Kendrick Bourne. Parker and Bourne don’t play special teams in New England, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they were competing for a roster spot in camp,” Barnwell began.
But the insider dove deeper — revealing how the Ex-49er had a falling out with the Pats which could parlay into a possible trade.
“Given how Bourne fell out of favor with the organization last season, I wonder whether the Patriots would consider moving him for help elsewhere, like possible offensive line depth,” Barnwell wrote. “Bourne is making a reasonable $5.5 million in 2023, none of which is guaranteed.
That’s when Barnwell asked: “Could he end up somewhere like Houston, especially if John Metchie III — who is expected to return after missing 2022 with leukemia — doesn’t start the season on the active roster?”
Such a proposal would place Bourne in a 49ers reunion with safety Jimmie Ward and new Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans, who was the inside linebackers coach when Bourne was in the Bay Area.
Patriots Insider Warns Kendrick Bourne May Not Make Final Pats Roster
Barnwell isn’t the only insider who wrote about Bourne’s uncertain future.
Patriots insider for The Athletic Chad Graff even wrote how Bourne’s stay in the Boston region could be truncated soon. He cites the addition of Demario Douglas as the reason.
“I don’t think Bourne is guaranteed to make the team,” Graff wrote. “He’ll need to re-prove he belongs to fend off Douglas.”
Graff additionally mentions the drafting of Kayshon Boutte, who was once given a first-round grade before the draft but fell to the sixth round. New England, additionally, is scrapping its 2022 offense by handing the reins back to former Pats assistant Bill O’Brien, who was re-hired as the offensive coordinator during the offseason.
Kendrick Bourne’s Career Post-49ers
While with the Niners, Bourne went on to produce two 40-catch seasons — 42 in his second season of 2018 and 49 in his final season with the team in 2020. His ’19 season witnessed 30 catches, 358 yards and five touchdown catches — the latter still representing a personal 49ers best for him.
Following the signing of his deal, Bourne showed some promise early for the Pats. He produced career-highs with 55 receptions, 800 yards, an average of 14.5 yards per catch and tied his 2020 TD mark.
However, his numbers dropped significantly as the Pats struggled with finding an offensive identity. Bourne caught just 35 passes for 43 yards and crossed the goal line just once.
Now, with two receivers added via the draft and Smith-Schuster as the prized free agent signing for the Pats, Bourne is facing turbulence in his Pats tenure.
Would the 49ers reconsider luring Bourne back in? The 49ers have made midseason trades two years in a row with Charles Omenihu in 2021 and of course, Christian McCaffrey right before the 2022 deadline. The Niners, though, would likely have to have a myriad of injuries in the WR room plus surrender some draft capital to land Bourne. It would also likely mean taking on his base salary of $4,750,000.
Bourne doesn’t officially become a free agent until after the 2023 season.