Patriots may have dropped the ball with top pending free agent

New England Patriots v New York Jets
New England Patriots v New York Jets / Kathryn Riley/GettyImages

Although free agency doesn't start for another few weeks, a team can still strike a new deal with their own pending free agents ahead of them hitting the market. The Patriots should prioritize that aspect of the offseason due to the long list of important players they could lose to other teams, one of which is wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.

When Bill Belichick signed him during the spending spree in 2021, there wasn't a lot of excitement about what he could bring to the offense. Most fans hoped to sign more prominent name players, and Bourne was far from the flashiest.

But over the past three years, he's become integral to the team's success and recorded the best season of his career in 2021. He was well on his way to an even better one last year but suffered a torn ACL that prematurely ended his season. It was a devastating loss for the Patriots, who were an absolute mess every single week, so losing their most productive receiver left a big void on game day.

Now that Bourne is headed to free agency, he's made it loud and clear that he wants to re-sign with New England for 2024 and beyond. It looked like that may become a reality sooner than expected when his agent posted a photo of the two heading into Gillette Stadium on Friday morning, adding a very telling song to the post.

Because Bourne has been vocal about his desire to remain a Patriot, it felt like a shoe in that a deal would get done today.

However, NFL reporter Aaron Wilson ended that belief just a few hours later, stating that a new deal between the two sides would not happen anytime soon. He went on to add that Bourne will test the free agent market, as teams are expected to be very interested in signing him.

It was not the news most Patriots fans, who have become fond of the receiver over the last three years, were hoping for. Not only that but also how well he's performed despite the unfavorable circumstances surrounding the team, which applies even more to Bourne after overcoming the 2022 season with Matt Patricia.

This may be just a statement his agents put out there to skyrocket his value to teams, maybe even hoping the Patriots will pay him more because of how other teams will pursue him.

But hopefully, it's just smoke because it would be a shame to lose a player with his skill set who has proven his value to the team time and time again.

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