Will Patriots re-sign Kendrick Bourne? Here's latest update on free agent WR

Will Patriots re-sign Kendrick Bourne? Here's latest update on free agent WR originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Kendrick Bourne is one of the most interesting free agents on the New England Patriots roster.

He tore his ACL in Week 8 of the 2023 season, but before that he was the team's most productive wide receiver. In fact, Bourne has been the Patriots' top wideout since he signed with the team as a free agent in March of 2021, even though he wasn't used enough in the offense during the 2022 campaign.

The Patriots should strongly consider re-signing Bourne. They need to do more to upgrade their talent level and depth at wide receiver than bringing back Bourne, but doing that would be a good start.

Bourne's agent, Henry Organ, shared a post to his Instagram story Thursday showing he was at Gillette Stadium. Bourne was tagged in the post, and the song 'New Money" by Migos accompanied the post.

However, veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 in Houston reported Friday afternoon that Bourne is expected to test the free agent market. Testing the market doesn't mean Bourne won't be back in New England, but it would give him an opportunity to gauge the interest of other teams.

Bourne has expressed on the record a few times over the last few months, including to NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran at Radio Row before Super Bowl LVIII, his desire to return to the Patriots.

"I felt like we were in a rebuild. That's personally how I felt, it was a rebuild the three years I was there," Bourne told Curran on the Patriots Talk Podcast. "I loved being part of that and setting the foundation, and I think it's going to take off pretty soon. So, I want to be part of the take-off, in a sense. I'm excited for the new chapter and I would love to be a part of it, man. I definitely have unfinished business."

Bourne also added: "The way they treated me last year, I mean, all my years (here), they helped me grow tremendously in my life, personally, emotionally, mentally, as a football player ultimately. I want to be back in that. I was pushed to another level with the Patriots and I think it's just different. It's an environment that works for me, that helps me become a better person, better player. So I would love to keep that going."

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Bourne has caught 127 passes for 1,640 yards with 10 touchdowns in 41 career games played for the Patriots. He will be 29 years old in Week 1 next season.

Luckily for the Patriots, if they don't re-sign Bourne, there should be several other talented wideouts available on the free agent market. The 2024 free agent class could be loaded with good wide receivers, and might even include stars such as Tee Higgins, Mike Evans, Calvin Ridley and Michael Pittman Jr.

Even if the Patriots select a wide receiver on Day 1 or Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft, bringing in another veteran needs to be a priority. Signing Bourne and one of the names mentioned in the paragraph above would be a great way to achieve that objective.