Washington FA preview: Which available player should be talked about more?

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JP Finlay
·3 min read
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FA preview: Who should be talked about more for Washington? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

This week, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey preview free agency by answering important questions related to the Washington Football Team. Next up: Which player needs to be talked about more as a target for the franchise?

By now, you've been inundated with analysis on names like Kenny Golladay and, well, almost every quarterback on the planet. But who is a guy that's gone overlooked up to this point that would make Washington better?

JP and Pete give their thoughts here.

Pete's take

My player feels like he could be due for a nice uptick in production with a different organization that relies on him more, à la a JD McKissic or Logan Thomas (and there's the first time I've ever written "à la" in my life). Let's talk about Kendrick Bourne.

Ever since his college days at Eastern Washington, where he shared the field with Cooper Kupp, Bourne has been overshadowed. That continued once he joined the 49ers in 2017 as an undrafted addition, as he took a back seat to more reputable pass catchers like Pierre Garcon, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Emmanuel Sanders following his arrival.

In 2020, though, Bourne posted his best numbers yet in terms of catches (49) and yards (667), a campaign where he logged at least one 15-yard reception in 12 of his 15 appearances. He's also brought in four, five and two touchdowns in the past three seasons, which is impressive considering he never was a true focal point of the Niners' operation.

In no way should Bourne be the only wideout Washington looks to slide in with Terry McLaurin, but what if the club can sign Kenny Golladay or draft Kadarius Toney and also lock up Bourne on a reasonable contract? All of the sudden, that meager position is a whole lot better.

Signing the 25-year-old at some point in the near future wouldn't be a transaction that takes over NFL.com or defines Ron Rivera's offseason, but it could be yet another move where the coach plucks a rising, reliable contributor from another team and gives him a heftier opportunity in Burgundy and Gold.

Bourne has spent his time in San Fran developing into a useful threat, and Washington represents a place where he'd be able to advance his career even further.

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JP's take

It wouldn't be a shock if Washington looks to add another running back to compete for depth this offseason, and judging by Ron Rivera's track record since he took over the Burgundy and Gold, look to Carolina at options. 

Well, Mike Davis just entered the chat.

Rivera was running the Panthers late in 2019 when his team claimed Davis off waivers. He played seven games that season, and despite Carolina firing Rivera, he stuck with the team in 2020. 

Last year, Davis took advantage of opportunities when Christian McCaffrey missed time. Davis totaled more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage to go with eight touchdowns and is slated for free agency next week. 

Plus, at 5-foot-9 and 220 lbs, Davis has the build to take over the short yardage role that Peyton Barber commanded last season in Washington. Davis got way more work last year in Carolina than Barber, but Davis also averaged nearly a full yard-per-carry more.

Barber is under contract for 2021, but the cap number is below $2 million. In 2020, Washington took four running backs into training camp — Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, Barber and Adrian Peterson — before trimming down to three RBs for Week 1.

Whether Davis lands in Washington or not, it seems likely Washington will bring four RBs to camp this summer. 

One more thing to keep in mind: New Washington executive vice president of football/player personnel Marty Hurney was GM in Carolina the last two years. He was part of the decision makers that claimed Davis and kept him around for the 2020 season. 

Just saying.