49ers news: 2021 NFL free agency tracker with updates, analysis

Trent Williams #71 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Trent Williams #71 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Kendrick Bourne, SF 49ers
Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne #84 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Kendrick Bourne signs with Patriots

It was inevitable the Niners were going to lose some of their starting-caliber players to NFL free agency this offseason, and the first one to go was four-year wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.

According to Ian Rapoport, Bourne will head over to join the New England Patriots on a three-year deal worth up to $22.5 million:

Bourne, the 2017 undrafted free agent, filled a vital cog in Kyle Shanahan’s offense the last few years, acting as both a key third-down weapon and viable target within the red zone. Amid all of San Francisco’s injuries at wide receiver last year, Bourne finished 2020 with 667 receiving yards, which ranked second only behind the standout rookie, Brandon Aiyuk.

The 49ers have Aiyuk and fellow wide receiver Deebo Samuel cemented as their top pass-catching duo at the position, so bidding farewell to Bourne made some sense.

That said, the Niners still have more than enough depth questions behind Aiyuk and Samuel to make this position a bit worrisome heading into 2021.

If there’s a bonus, the 2021 NFL Draft is both deep and talented at the position, likely influencing Shanahan’s decision to let Bourne walk for a solid payday while going after someone else who is both younger and cheaper this April.

Best of luck, KB.