49ers Trade Rumors: SF Tabbed as Landing Spot for Ex-49ers WR

Kendrick Bourne (right) has been floated as a trade possibility for the 49ers.

Getty Kendrick Bourne (right) has been floated as a trade possibility for the 49ers.

Sometimes, things really do come full circle. Here we are in 2023, and there are 49ers trade rumors swirling on Kendrick Bourne, of all people. Yes, the Patriots wide receiver is attracting attention on the NFL trade market ahead of the October 31 deadline, and a return to San Francisco has been mentioned.

Bourne started his career with the 49ers and played with the team for four seasons before he signed with New England in 2021, on a three-year, $22.5 million contract. But now, with the season crumbling for the 1-5 Patriots, his name has hit the rumor mill and he will be on high alert ahead of the deadline, he acknowledged.

“It will definitely be on my mind, but just being ready for whatever,” he told reporters on October 18, via SB Nation.

New England Sports Network (NESN) cited trade odds from an online sportsbook, which had the 49ers as the leading candidate to land Bourne. The site wrote:

“(Bourne) posted a career-high 74 targets in his final season with the 49ers, a campaign which ranks second in his career for receiving yards (667). While the Niners have depth at running back behind Christian McCaffrey, they don’t have as much at receiver. Could the injury to Deebo Samuel cause John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan to reunite with Bourne? It might make sense.”

Kendrick Bourne Played 4 Seasons for 49ers

Bourne was an undrafted free agent in 2017 when he worked his way onto the radars of the 49ers brain trust. He was on the roster bubble until Pierre Garcon broke his neck, which pushed the 49ers to keep Bourne. And he was nearly cut from the team after a poor training camp in 2019, but more injuries — to Trent Taylor and Jaylen Hurd — allowed him to stick around and get back to form.

He has not starred for the Patriots the way some thought he might, especially after he and quarterback Mac Jones had a good season together in 2021. But the whole New England offense took a step backward in 2022, and though Bourne is leading the Patriots in receptions and yardage, he is expendable on a team that appears to be going nowhere fast.

Bourne did say that he does not want to leave New England, though 49ers trade rumors might be a welcome change considering the Patriots’ situation.

“I want to be here. I love to be here,” he said. “But if there are other plans, then it is what it is. But just focusing every day on what I have to do and the task at hand. I think I’m in a good place. So, whatever happens happens. Just focusing day by day, and just let it play out.”

49ers Trade Rumors Are in Full Swing

Generally, the 49ers are happy with their receiver depth, but injuries remain a concern for a team that leads the NFL in cap space and is hell-bent on getting to the Super Bowl this season.

Samuel’s shoulder injury suffered in Week 6 against the Browns is not expected to keep him out long, if at all. But there is a wider concern about whether Samuel can stay healthy all season, given the level of contact he takes, as well as what might happen if Brandon Aiyuk goes down.

Shanahan said Samuel’s injury came on a running play on the first snap of the game.

“Deebo was the first play of the game, on the jet sweep,” Shanahan told reporters on October 16. “He just took a shot on the shoulder. It didn’t look overly big or anything, it just connected right. And so it got him after that. If you watch him like the next eight plays and stuff, you could just tell his feeling was starting to go because he couldn’t use his left arm. He tried to come back and stuff, but just couldn’t get feeling back in it. So we had to shut him down.”

Bourne is big and versatile, a veteran now who can play in the slot or on the outside. He might be an ideal third receiver for a team with big plans.

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