New England Patriots

Report: Patriots make contract offer to free agent WR Kendrick Bourne

Bourne is one of the Patriots' most important pending free agents on offense.

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Michael Onwenu has received much of the focus among the New England Patriots' own free agents, and rightfully so. He's a versatile, homegrown player who has excelled at both the tackle and guard spots along the offensive line.

But he's not the Patriots' only important pending free agent on offense.

Kendrick Bourne is able to hit the open market, too. Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald reported Monday that the Patriots have offered the veteran wide receiver a new contract.

"Bourne received his offer before the NFL Scouting Combine, when league sources told the Herald the veteran wideout should have strong interest if he hits free agency on March 11," Callahan wrote. "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."

Bourne tallied 37 receptions for 406 yards and four touchdowns before suffering a season-ending ACL injury in a Week 8 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Despite missing slightly more than half of the 2023 season, Bourne still ranked third on the team in receiving yards and second in receiving touchdowns.

DeMario Douglas had a nice rookie campaign with a team-leading 49 receptions and 561 receiving yards. But he's not good enough to be a team's No. 1 wideout, at least not yet.

In addition to Bourne, the Patriots also could lose tight ends Mike Gesicki and Hunter Henry, both of whom are free agents. Henry led the team with six receiving touchdowns last season. If all three players departed in free agency, the Patriots would be left with very few pass-catching options.

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The class of free agent wide receivers also has weakened in recent weeks with Mike Evans reportedly re-signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tee Higgins being franchise tagged by the Cincinnati Bengals. Calvin Ridley could still be available, but the big-name talent seems to be dwindling.

The Patriots could also select a wideout in the second or third rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft next month, but more veteran talent is needed at this position. This is why keeping Bourne should be a priority for the Patriots. They would still need to add another Ridley-level wide receiver to the roster, but getting Bourne back would at least be a good start.

The legal tampering period of free agency starts March 11. Players can start signing new contracts on March 13.

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