The New England Patriots receiving core just got weaker in their 17-31 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Number-one wide receiver Kendrick Bourne exited the fourth quarter with a knee injury. He ended up tearing his right ACL. New England placed Bourne on the injured reserve and will miss the rest of the season.
Bourne is in the last year of his 3-year, $15 million contract. Bourne had his best season in his first year with New England, recording 55 receptions for 800 yards and five touchdowns. Bourne took a step back in production in his second season, recording 35 receptions for 434 yards and one touchdown.
He had 37 receptions for 406 yards and four touchdowns through the first eight games. Bourne will be an unrestricted free agent during the 2024 offseason.
Three young receivers must step up to replace Bourne.
New England Patriots young receiver number-one.
The first young receiver who must step up is Jalen Reagor. The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Jalen Reagor in the 1st round, 21st overall in the 2020 draft. Reagor struggled in his rookie season, recording 31 receptions for 396 yards and one touchdown. Reagor struggled again in his second season, recording 33 receptions for 299 yards and two touchdowns.
Philadelphia gave up on Reagor and traded him to the Minnesota Vikings on August 31, 2022. Bourne had eight receptions for 104 yards and one touchdown during the 2022 season. Minnesota released Reagor on August 30, 2023.
New England signed Reagor to the practice squad on August 31 and signed him to the active roster on October 26. Reagor is expected to start in place of Bourne.
Patriots’ young receiver number-two.
The second young receiver who must step up is Demario Douglas. New England drafted Douglas in the 6th round, 210th overall, in 2023. Douglas was JuJu Smith-Schuster’s backup for the first five games. A concussion in Week 5 caused JuJu to miss the next two games. Douglas filled in for Smith-Schuster and has taken over receiving duties in the slot. Douglas has 19 receptions for 222 yards in seven games in his rookie season.
Patriots’ young receiver number-three.
The third young receiver who must step up is Kayshon Boutte. New England drafted Boutte in the 6th round, 187th overall, in 2023. Boutte started in Week 1 because DeVante Parker missed the game due to a knee injury. Boutte was targeted four times and had zero receptions in that game.
Boutte has been a healthy scratch since Week 2. DeVante Parker suffered a concussion last week, and there is a possibility he won’t play in Week 9. If not, JuJu or Kayshon might start in Parker’s absence.
Losing Kendrick Bourne for the season is the worst news that New England can get on offense. Expect DeVante Parker to get most of the targets for the rest of the season once he recovers from the concussion.
Mac Jones has to rely on guys like Jalen Reagor, Demario Douglas, and Kayshon Boutte.
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