49ers rumors: Reunion with Kendrick Bourne imminent at NFL trade deadline?

Kendrick Bourne was excellent for the Niners for four years, and he'd likely be welcomed back with open arms.

New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne / Chris Unger/GettyImages

The 49ers are rumored to be in on another deal prior to the NFL trade deadline, and this former Niners receiver might be an easy target.

The San Francisco 49ers already made one move prior to the 2023 NFL trade deadline, grabbing edge Randy Gregory from the Denver Broncos in exchange for a late-round pick swap.

However, according to the rumor mill, general manager John Lynch isn't done with attempting to get other deals done.

Another rumor has surfaced as of late, and it involves a former Niners player who began his career with the team in 2017.

Considering San Francisco is dealing with some injuries at that player's specific position, it might make sense for Lynch and Co. to explore making the move prior to the end of the month to help bolster the depth chart.

Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne popping up on 49ers trade rumors

At 1-5 with one of the worst offenses in the league, the New England Patriots would be foolish to do anything else but sell at the NFL trade deadline.

One of the players who could be on the move is wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, who spent the first four years of his career with the 49ers after going undrafted out of Eastern Washington.

Paralleling with Super Bowl odds from FanDuel, NESN's Sean McGuire listed the Niners as the No. 1 trade partner for Bourne's services:

"Bourne signed with the Patriots after spending his first four seasons in San Francisco. He posted a career-high 74 targets in his final season with the 49ers, a campaign which ranks second in his career for receiving yards (667). While the Niners have depth at running back behind Christian McCaffrey, they don’t have as much at receiver. Could the injury to Deebo Samuel cause John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan to reunite with Bourne? It might make sense."

Bourne had a career year with the Pats in 2021 after signing a three-year, $22.5 million free-agent contract there, posting 800 receiving yards with five touchdowns. But with him heading toward free agency again in 2024, it's likely head coach Bill Belichick would prefer getting something for him now rather than waiting for a potential compensatory pick that'd likely be a late-rounder at most.

Would 49ers welcome back Kendrick Bourne via trade?

The Niners already have two bona fide star receivers in Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. But both have been banged up at points this season, as well as No. 3 wideout Jauan Jennings.

Samuel, in particular, has a bit of an injury history, and Bourne admirably stepped up back in 2020 when the former was absent for much of the year.

San Francisco has both NFL Draft capital (12 projected picks) and salary cap space (nearly $40 million available, according to Over the Cap) to take Bourne on, and he'd cost a prorated base salary of $4.75 million plus incentives.

Granted, Bourne wouldn't be assuming a featured role, barring injury, and he'd likely revert back into being a third-down target and red-zone option, which is precisely how he thrived under head coach Kyle Shanahan for much of his 49ers tenure.

So, from that vantage point, Lynch and the Niners making a move here would be logical, both to guard against a lengthy injury to Samuel or Aiyuk and to help bolster the depth chart.

San Francisco has until 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31 when the 2023 NFL trade deadline hits to decide if it's worthwhile.

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