For the past month, there have been rumblings around a potential trade of New England Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne. According to the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan, “several teams” called to check on Bourne’s availability, but nothing came of the inquiries.
The trade speculation will likely return on the heels of an embarrassing loss to AFC East rivals, the Miami Dolphins, a game that saw Bourne play just two snaps.
Bourne’s former teammate with the San Francisco 49ers, Jaquiski Tartt tweeted: “Free Kendrick Bourne,” and the Patriots WR liked the tweet.
Bourne liking Tartt’s tweet might not mean he’s positioning himself as a malcontent who wants to be dealt. He could simply be acknowledging a friend’s support on social media. However, it’s no coincidence Bourne is frustrated with what was a reduced role on Sunday.
Bourne held it together during his post-game meeting with the media and took responsibility for his actions in practice. Still, after a career year in 2021, Bourne wanted nothing more than to follow that up with an even better 2022. It hasn’t happened for him, though he did have a 41-yard reception from Mac Jones on Sunday.
The play was one of the few from the Patriots on offense that excited anyone. The play also helped to make the Patriots look like the bad guys for not playing him.
Can the New England Patriots Afford to Trade Kendrick Bourne?
The Patriots don’t have a ton of weapons at wide receiver. What’s worse is they don’t have rookie speedster Tyquan Thornton. He’s out with a fractured clavicle.
At this point, all the Patriots have is DeVante Parker, Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, Lil’ Jordan Humphrey, and Bourne at receiver. If the Patriots did trade Bourne, it would seemingly have to come after Kristian Wilkerson returns from his concussion, or perhaps closer to when the team gets Thorton back in the fold.
Moving him for what would likely be one or two draft picks would severely cripple the team’s receiver depth.
Simply Playing Kendrick Bourne More is the Best Answer
The other option, and quite frankly the smartest one, is for the Patriots to remove the restrictions or to lift the punishment from Bourne. It’s unclear what happened during training camp that appears to have landed the 25-year-old in Bill Belichick’s doghouse.
However, at this point, keeping Bourne off the field for all but two plays on Sunday is simply self-destructive. New England scored just 7 points, and almost every player on that side of the ball seemed frustrated with their inability to score points.
Bourne isn’t Davante Adams or Justin Jefferson, so it isn’t as if injecting him back into the lineup will make a mega difference with the Patriots’ offense. Still, a unit that is already thirsty for some personality and playmakers cannot afford to bench a guy who gives the team a little bit of both qualities.
I’d expect to see more of Bourne in Week 2 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then, perhaps all of the trade speculations will have at least cooled out.
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