Grading the Patriots' first batch of (re-)signings in 2024 free agency

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Kendrick Bourne returns on a 3-year contract: (3-years, $33 million)

In recent years, one of the weakest parts of the Patriots' offensive roster has been their receiving corps, and it wasn't looking any better next season. That's why it was critical they re-signed Kendrick Bourne, who was well on his way to having the best year of his career in 2023 before suffering an ACL tear to end his season.

Retaining Bourne ensures they have a viable weapon for whoever the quarterback may be, a bridge veteran or newly drafted rookie, and positive energy on and off the field. He's been a reliable player for the team, and despite a turbulent 2022 season mainly due to Matt Patricia, when he was put in a game, he was the jolt they needed to get the chains moving.

He has consistently been that for the Patriots since signing with the team three years ago, and he recorded the best statistical season of his career that year to prove he was worth every penny. He was on par to beat that year, too, and, despite recovering from a severe injury, could easily pick up where he left off last season.

Having Bourne signed through 2026 ensures the offense will have a reliable player, especially next season with just DeMario Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Tyquan Thornton under contract.

Our grade: A

Patriots lock down Hunter Henry through 2026: (3-years, $27 million)

For some reason, not a single tight end was set to be on the roster next season, which made re-signing the best player they've had at the position since Rob Gronkowski even more essential. That's exactly what Eliot Wolf did when he brought back Hunter Henry on a 3-year, $27 million deal early in the legal tampering process.

There was a belief he would be one of the players prioritized, given his contributions to the team over the last three years and his likely desire to remain a Patriot. However, there was doubt that a good deal would be made because his contract in 2021 was pricey and not ideal for an aging player.

But Wolf worked his magic, bringing Henry back on a deal that pays him an average salary of $9 million, far better than the $17 million he earned per year on his previous contract.

Because he has become an essential part of the offense, from his blocking abilities to his red zone availability, it was an excellent move to retain him on the contract he signed. He can continue to be a great TE1 and mentor whatever rookie the Patriots are expected to draft this year, which increases his value even more.

Our grade: B+