As the trade deadline nears and the Patriots may decide to go into full sell mode, Bill Belichick may explore what he can get for several players on the current roster, no matter how integral they may currently be to the team.
Never able to escape those rumors is Kendrick Bourne, who has been one of the leading names within trade conversations over the last few weeks. He is considered one of the more valuable players that could yield the best return, despite the fact that he has proven to be one of the more reliable pieces on offense for Mac Jones.
Since he's no stranger to these types of rumors, the wide receiver was asked about his feelings regarding the whispers during his media availability on Wednesday.
"It definitely will be on my mind. Just being ready for whatever. I wanna be here. I love to be here. But if there's other plans, then it is what it is."
As one of the more candid players that have come through the Patriots locker room, Bourne was blunt with his response and didn't gloss over that the rumors will be on his mind until the trade deadline ends at the end of the month.
He's been consistent with his appreciation for being in New England and enjoying his time there, even working with Belichick, other than his apparent disdain for Matt Patricia last season. (And who can blame him, really?)
Although trading a player like Bourne may make sense at the moment, especially when looking ahead to the 2024 draft and season, it feels like a decision that would be made if Belichick has little confidence about the rest of the season.
Bourne has continued to be the best pass-catcher for Jones this season, coming alive against the Raiders last week even without scoring a touchdown, and moving on from him would signal a conscious decision to tank.
JuJu Smith-Schuster hasn't become the new Jakobi Meyers, Kayshon Boutte has been a healthy scratch for weeks, Demario Douglas has seen limited reps, DeVante Parker continues to have significant missteps in critical moments, and all others have struggled mightily because of the offensive line or their own shortcomings. Removing Bourne from the equation would make the job of the offense much more difficult, particularly for Jones.
The best idea would actually be to extend Bourne beyond this season, especially since the only receivers under contract next season other than Boutte and Douglas are Parker and Thorton, two players who haven't been reliable enough over the last two seasons to be comfortable with.
With the trade deadline now just 12 days away, the rumblings of who may be dangled to other teams will continue to change and pick up, but hopefully, Bourne will not become one dealt elsewhere due to his importance to the offense moving forward.