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Wednesday Patriots Notebook 7/19: News and Notes

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
2 months ago at 10:54 am ET
Posted Under: Patriots News

Wednesday Patriots Notebook 7/19: News and NotesEric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Some news and notes on this Wednesday:

Money Ultimately Was the Difference With Hopkins

With DeAndre Hopkins landing in Tennessee, the Boston Herald’s Doug Kyed and Andrew Callahan recorded their weekly “Pats Interference” podcast earlier this week, which had some great insight on the fallout from Hopkins’ decision to pick the Titans over the New England Patriots.

According to Kyed, who recently joined Callahan at the Herald, it did indeed ultimately come down to money with Hopkins, with the guarantees in the contract being the difference and not any additional factor.

“I think what it really just comes down to is money,” said Kyed.  “The Titans had the best offer on the table, and the Patriots just weren’t really willing to take that extra step to give DeAndre Hopkins assurances, I guess might be the best way to put it?  Because I’m, quite frankly, as far as the teams are concerned talent-wise or upside-wise, they’re really not that far off.  It’s not like one team has an elite quarterback. It’s not like … I don’t know.  I mean, I don’t get the big sense that Bill O’Brien had a lot to do with this.”

“I think it was just that Bill Belichick doesn’t like to overextend himself when it comes to contracts. He doesn’t like to necessarily meet demands.  He loves a value, and when it came down to it, the Titans had a better offer than the Patriots.  I know that might not be the most interesting answer for talk radio and all sorts of things, but maybe it is because the Patriots weren’t willing to up the ante money-wise.”

“But I don’t know.  Bill Belichick likes value, and by this point, two years, $26 million, upside of $32 million, still kind of a value but maybe not necessarily what the Patriots wanted value-wise.”

Kyed went on to say, after receiving a text just prior to when they recorded the episode (which they said was recorded Monday), that there are people internally who were disappointed that the deal didn’t come to fruition.

“I actually had someone get back to me literally minutes ago, so the timing worked out on this,” said Kyed.  “And the sentiment is essentially that there’s some disappointment about the decision within the team that they didn’t get to work with him, that he’s not going to make the team better, that he’s not coming on board.”

Bourne Would Have Been the Odd Man Out

Another bit of information that was interesting was the fact that had the club landed Hopkins, it may have seen the Patriots part ways with veteran wideout Kendrick Bourne.

Kyed confirmed this on the podcast but also said that the team is optimistic that we could see big things from Bourne in 2023.

“There’s, I think, still optimism about Kendrick Bourne on this team as well, and that was kind of a factor in this in that, from what I was hearing, there was a good possibility that Bourne was probably going to be on his way out if Hopkins was on the way in,” said Kyed.  “Money-wise, paying Hopkins, [DeVante] Parker, [JuJu] Smith-Schuster, and Kendrick Bourne, all having cap hits in the $5 million-plus range probably didn’t make a lot of sense when you’ve got Tyquan Thornton on the team, when you’ve got the two rookies.  So, there’s still optimism about Kendrick Bourne.  I think the team’s excited to keep working with him.”

While Kyed admitted that Bourne obviously isn’t the player Hopkins is, he’s still talented enough to potentially make an impact and put together a productive season, and that’s what the team is counting on.

“Kendrick Bourne obviously isn’t DeAndre Hopkins,” said Kyed.  “But he’s a year removed from an 800-yard season when he was probably, I don’t know, him and Jakobi Meyers were pretty neck-and-neck in 2021 as far as who was the best wide receiver on the team, and I think that they’re kind of counting on him to have a bounce back season with New England.”

“So, yeah, that’s kind of the sentiment I was getting.  There’s disappointment but optimism on Kendrick Bourne.  I know it’s not the greatest consolation prize for Patriots fans, but Kendrick Bourne … this was quite possibly the difference between Kendrick Bourne being on the 2023 Patriots and not being on the 2023 Patriots.”

Callahan also said that he received a text from a player who seemingly shared the same sentiment.  He revealed the text said, “I thought we would get him, and we didn’t but that’s O.K.,” on that player’s reaction about the Hopkins news.

Bourne Appears to be in ‘Better Shape’ in 2023

Anyone who follows Bourne on social media knows he’s been active this offseason, including one posted just yesterday running routes at Nike World Headquarters.  Callahan also said that the veteran wideout’s videos that we’ve seen show that Bourne appears to be in better shape compared to last preseason.  Callahan alluded to the fact that’s something that may have also been an issue previously for Bourne, who was coming off of what had been a career-year for the former 49ers receiver after having caught 55 passes for 800 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2021.

“Kendrick Bourne, I don’t think it’s any surprise, is posting pictures and videos of himself,” explained Callahan.  “Well, A) that’s period, end of story, no surprise that’s happening on Instagram, but B) that he looks like in much better shape when he admitted he was overweight last year.  He seemed to be complacent after that 800-yard season, you mentioned, in 2021.”

Callahan spoke about that as if it was well-known, but that wasn’t a topic of conversation that really came up about Bourne last year, so that was certainly interesting.

Bourne Nearly Traded in 2022, Was Sent Home in Preseason

Callahan also confirmed that the club did come close to trading Bourne last season, and that the issues ahead of the 2022 season where the receiver saw limited playing time stemmed from a meeting where Bourne arrived late and was sent home.

“The other part is, they came very close, I can tell you, to trading him last year and they had calls, including a team in the division, another team in the AFC, and a 3rd team – a separate contender – about him,” said Callahan.  “The trouble is, no team likes to sell low, and that’s exactly what you would have done with Bourne despite that 800-yard season because he was late to a, basically, attendance meeting before a preseason game and got sent home and was having a terrible camp.”

“So whether we all want to look back and say, ‘It was Matt Patricia’s fault he was in the doghouse, blah, blah, blah,’ that’s partly true, Kendrick Bourne walked himself most of the way into that doghouse back then.”

“Now, I would count on some sort of Bourne bounce back.  Will he have more yards than DeAndre Hopkins next year, as much of an impact?  Probably not.  But it’s interesting that he’s tied so closely to, ‘he’s the guy who would have been on the outside looking in, but we’re really glad he’s here because we missed out on the other guy.'”

Whether or not Bourne will live up to those expectations remains to be seen, but with Hopkins no longer a factor, it appears the ball is now in his court ahead of the 2023 season.

Posted Under: Patriots News

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