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Patriots

The Patriots have a few players that could be moved at the deadline, according to experts.

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Kendrick Bourne hasn’t had the strong season many hoped for. AP Photo/Matt Ludtke

Kendrick Bourne hasn’t continued his year one success into year two with New England the way many hoped.

Through the first five games of the season, the biggest storylines surrounding Bourne have been why he hasn’t played more than he has. He played just two offensive snaps in the Patriots’ season-opening loss to the Dolphins after he was reportedly sent home before a preseason game due to being late to a meeting.

While Bourne’s snap count has gone up in recent weeks, he only has 10 receptions for 139 yards through five games. With the trade deadline nearing, could Bourne be a good trade candidate?

ESPN NFL expert Bill Barnwell believes so. In a recent column proposing 15 trades around the league, he included Bourne in a mock trade, having the Patriots swapping the receiver for another talented receiver who’s struggled to open up the year: Robbie Anderson of the Panthers.

“Let’s execute a classic change-of-scenery trade for two frustrated receivers,” Barnwell wrote in his explanation of the trade. “Bourne was a standout for the Patriots in 2021, but he fell into Bill Belichick’s doghouse this offseason. He played his largest snap count of the season in the Week 5 win over the Lions, but that was only because Nelson Agholor was benched after his drop led to an interception. Bourne was just targeted once, and that for a single yard.”

Anderson is another receiver that’s shown promise but has struggled recently. After he had 96 receptions for 1,096 receiving yards in 2020, the 29-year-old only had 53 receptions for 519 yards in 2021. Following a five-catch, 102-yard performance in Week 1, Anderson’s only had eight receptions for 104 yards in the Panthers’ last four games.

Barnwell explained why Anderson might be more of a fit with the Patriots than Bourne.

“The Panthers restructured Anderson’s deal, so he’s actually cheaper for the remainder of the year than Bourne, and he would offer a downfield speed threat that the Patriots don’t currently have on their roster,” Barnwell wrote. “Bourne is probably the better receiver on the whole, so at a slightly higher price, this looks like a fair deal to me.”

The Patriots have shown interest in acquiring Anderson in the past. In March, it was reported that the Patriots had interest in the receiver to replace Agholor.

Of course, that move didn’t come to fruition at the time. But over a month into the regular season, the Patriots and Panthers find themselves in similar quandaries as comes to notable veteran receivers. In addition to Anderson, it’s been speculated that receiver D.J. Moore and other star players could be on the move following the firing of coach Matt Rhule amid the team’s 1-4 start to the season.

Bourne also hasn’t been the only Patriots player to be viewed as a candidate to be moved ahead of the Nov. 1 trade deadline. NFL.com’s Eric Edholm listed Agholor and offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn, in addition to Bourne, on a list of players that “should” be moved prior to the trade deadline.

Agholor popped in Week 2, catching six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Steelers. However, he has struggled in recent weeks, losing a fumble in the loss to the Ravens in Week 3 and dropped a pass that resulted in an interception in Week 5.

Wynn has also struggled in his move to right tackle. He led the NFL in penalties entering Week 6, committing seven with six being accepted. He also gave up a pair of sacks in the Week 4 loss to the Packers.

Despite Wynn’s disappointing play to open the season, Edholm thinks he could have a trade market.

“Wynn also makes a hefty $10.4 million this season,” Edholm wrote. “But he plays an important position, and several teams could make a play for a deal if the Patriots are willing. It also doesn’t hurt that there’s a slew of former New England scouts and coaches working around the league with other clubs who could have some personal insights on Wynn’s ability.”

Both Agholor and Wynn are in the final years of their contracts, while Bourne has one more year left after 2022.

How the Patriots chose to approach the trade deadline could be determined by how they play in the coming weeks. The 2-3 Patriots have an easier schedule coming up, playing the Browns on Sunday and have games against the Bears and Jets prior to the trade deadline.



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