Kendrick Bourne has expressed his desire to return to the New England Patriots. And the organization reportedly would like for the veteran wideout to return, as well.

But according to a report from MassLive’s Mark Daniels, Chris Mason and Karen Guregian, the two parties “aren’t seeing eye-to-eye” on a contract agreement. Given their differences, MassLive reported it seems “unlikely” the Patriots re-sign Bourne before free agency.

Free agency officially starts March 13, two days after the legal tampering period begins on March 11.

“The receiver, coming off a knee injury, is expected to have interest around the NFL,” MassLive wrote Sunday.

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The development from MassLive comes a few weeks after ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported the Patriots hadn’t had substantial contract talks with Bourne. Bourne told Reiss in early February his goal was to return to New England.

The 28-year-old concluded his three-year, team-friendly contract with the Patriots in 2023. Bourne was on pace to set career marks in 2023 before he sustained a season-ending torn ACL against the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 29. Bourne previously said he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery.

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He finished the campaign with 37 catches, 406 yards and four touchdowns in eight games. It was a productive bounce-back start for the energetic pass-catcher, who fell out of favor with offensive play-caller Matt Patricia in 2022 and thus was limited to just 48 targets on the season.

The Patriots have a glaring need at the receiver position. New England reportedly plans to prioritize it in free agency, ahead of offensive tackle and tight end.

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But should Bourne reach the open market, there’s no certainty the Patriots will match whatever offer he receives. It could put them in even more of a hole at the position.

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