Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne Fill Patriots’ Biggest Glaring Need

The Patriots are set at wide receiver


Bill Belichick can head off on spring break if he wants. The New England Patriots filled all of their biggest needs before free agency even begins.

The Patriots can be on to the draft.

The Patriots agreed to terms on a contract with wide receiver Nelson Agholor on Monday night, a source told New England reportedly also added wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. Those moves come after a whirlwind day for the Patriots that also saw them agree to terms on contracts with tight end Jonnu Smith, edge defender Matt Judon, defensive back Jalen Mills and defensive tackle Davon Godchaux. New England also re-signed defensive linemen Carl Davis and Deatrich Wise. The Patriots had already re-signed quarterback Cam Newton and special-teamer Justin Bethel, traded for offensive tackle Trent Brown and traded offensive tackle Marcus Cannon.

Quite an offseason. Wait, it doesn’t actually officially start until Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET?

New England did lose left guard Joe Thuney to the Kansas City Chiefs and safety Terrence Brooks to the Houston Texans on Monday.

Agholor reportedly signed a two-year contract worth $22 million with $4 million in incentives, but we’ll wait to see the intricate details of the deal before we react to the terms, because that seems like a lot on the surface.

Bourne reportedly netted a three-year deal worth $22.5 million.

Agholor was one of the best deep threats in the NFL last season. He ranked sixth in the league with 444 yards on deep targets and second with six touchdowns on deep targets, per PFF. Overall, he caught 48 passes for 896 yards with eight touchdowns in a bounce-back 2020 season with the Las Vegas Raiders. He caught 224 passes for 2,515 yards with 18 touchdowns in his five previous seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Like Agholor, Bourne has the versatility to play outside and in the slot. He caught 49 passes for 667 yards with two touchdowns in 2020 and had 137 receptions for 1,769 yards with 11 touchdowns in four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

Agholor and Bourne replenish the Patriots’ wide receiver corps which was severely lacking in 2020. They join Jakobi Meyers, N’Keal Harry, Julian Edelman, Gunner Olszewski, Marqise Lee, Devin Smith, Kristian Wilkerson and Isaiah Zuber on New England’s receiver depth chart. Damiere Byrd and Donte Moncrief are free agents.

Agholor and Bourne project as starters with the rest of that group competing to play next to them.

New England didn’t quite land a top-of-the-market wide receiver, but they did need to acquire more than one player at the position. They accomplished that goal by adding Agholor and Bourne.

So, what needs remain for New England after Monday’s flurry of activity? Assuming they have any cap space left, the Patriots still need to add a center (David Andrews?), tender cornerback JC Jackson and maybe bring in some more depth at linebacker. They also could still bring on another quarterback after re-signing Newton, but that could come in the draft.

The Patriots already are in good shape for 2021, and free agency hasn’t even officially begun. Bill Belichick proved Monday that $60 million in cap space can go a long way.

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