The Pats suffered a major blow to what was left of their offense on Monday, when it was announced that wide receiver Kendrick Bourne had torn his ACL in the team's Week 8 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The injury will sideline Bourne for the remainder of the season.
Writing this headline last year would feel like an insult to the 2023-24 Patriots. But here's the reality: it most certainly is a significant setback for the Patriots, who were already struggling abysmally on offense.
Bourne had been one of the Patriots' most productive receivers this season, leading the team in receptions (37), receiving yards (406), and touchdowns (4). He was also a key contributor in the Patriots' Week 7 upset victory over the Buffalo Bills, when he caught six passes for 63 yards and a touchdown.
The injury is particularly devastating for the Patriots because they were already thin at the wide receiver position. DeVante Parker and JuJu Smith-Schuster have been dealing with an injuries (even though JuJu's only missed one game to date, he's still at risk of a knee injury according to reports. Second-year receiver Tyquan Thornton has struggled to make an impact. Demario "Pop" Douglas has been hit-or-miss, but generally the only sign of life besides Bourne. Keyshon Boutte said "FREE ME" on Instagram after being a healthy scratch on Sunday. And then there's Jalen Reagor...presented without comment. It's a "mid" receiver room at best.
Bourne's injury is also a major setback for his own career. He was in the middle of a contract year, and he was on pace to have the best season of his career. The ACL tear will now force him to miss the entire 2023 season, and it could impact his ability to sign a lucrative contract in the offseason. It may work out for the Pats, who can potentially sign him to a one-year "prove-it" deal in the offseason, but it's not a circumstance they were necessarily hoping for.
Eyes are on to 2024, where hopefully things will change in Foxboro. Whether or not it will be with Kendrick Bourne is their own problem. In the meantime, Bourne's injury is a major blow to the team's offense. The Pats will now need to find a way to replace Bourne's production, or their offense could continue to struggle.
And the scary part? No one knows who - or where - or even when - it will come from.