We’ll be breaking down all the major and minor moves for NFL Free Agency with grades and analysis. You can find the comprehensive list of moves and grades here.
Patriots deals have gotten progressively stranger throughout the day. It was clear the Patriots needed upgrades at wide receiver, even after going after Jonnu Smith, but New England went out of its way to give major deals for the types of players they would usually sign for cheap in the latter stages of free agency.
There is definitely a case for the skill sets of both Agholor and Bourne adding needed elements to the Patriots passing game. Agholor is a deep threat, who exploded with a career-high 896 yards, 18.7 yards per reception, and eight touchdowns with the Raiders last year.
Agholor had 398 yards on nine receptions over 20 air yards with five touchdowns, per SIS. Those deep touchdown numbers were second to only Tyreek Hill (eight). The Patriots had three deep touchdowns combined in 2020.
But all of that came as a reclamation project on a one-year/vet-minimum deal after he underperformed expectations as a first-round pick with the Philadelphia Eagles. Could New England not have gone after this year’s potential Agholor instead of actually signing Agholor?
At $11 million per year, Agholor is priced above the likes of Tyler Boyd, Tyler Lockett, and Robby Anderson. Stefon Diggs only makes $14.4 million per year. It’s not that far away from the top tier of receivers.
Bourne is a more interesting case. He was an elite situational player for the 49ers. Kyle Shanahan loved designing third down and red zone looks for Bourne and when Shanahan feels that way about a player, it’s worth taking notice.
The $7.5 million average is just below the top tier of slot receivers and closer to the veteran slot options such as Cole Beasley and Julian Edelman. It’s possible that Bourne can serve as the middle-of-the-field safety net the Patriots didn’t really have in 2020. He’ll turn 26 years old in August, so there is still plenty of upside that could be unlocked in a bigger role.
Grade: C- for Agholor and B- for Bourne