The New England Patriots were quite active during the 2021 free agency period, and one of the players added was wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. Signing a three-year, $15 million contract with the Patriots, Bourne has since developed into a reliable member of the team’s passing offense.
Due to his comparatively modest contract and his production — 52 catches for 776 yards and five touchdowns — Bourne has now been named one of the best offseason signings of 2021. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell released that list on Thursday, and Bourne is one of nine players listed.
Kendrick Bourne, WR, Patriots
Another member of the All-Underrated Team, Bourne represents the best value from New England’s offseason spending spree at receiver. I don’t doubt that quarterback Mac Jones has been helped by all the veterans — and tight end Hunter Henry has nine touchdowns — but Henry, Jonnu Smith and Nelson Agholor have a combined average annual value of $36 million on their deals and have 1,261 total yards this season. Bourne’s three-year, $15-million deal, on the other hand, has been a bargain.
The former 49ers wideout has been the poor man’s Deebo Samuel, racking up 776 receiving yards while adding a quietly impressive 117 rushing yards on 11 carries. He doesn’t have Samuel’s ability to make an impact as a traditional running back, but when you’re averaging 11.8 yards per target, you’re doing something right. His mark there leads the league, just ahead of the guy with 11.6 yards per target in second place ... Samuel. In a league in which signing a successful free-agent wide receiver is virtually impossible, Bourne has been the exception to the rule.
The Patriots have bounced back from their disappointing 2020 season in large part because of their offseason additions. Few of them have had as big an impact on the team as Bourne, which more than justifies his inclusion on the “best signings” list.