Do the 49ers Need to Extend Kendrick Bourne?
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Extensions seem to be the main theme of the last week.
First it was Raheem Mostert -- more of a pay raise. Now it is Kendrick Bourne, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic. Bourne was given the second-round tender back in March, essentially giving him a one-year contract.
Retaining his services for 2020 was essential considering the wide receiver position was bleak once Emmanuel Sanders left for New Orleans. That made Bourne and Deebo Samuel as the only contributing receivers from 2019.
Bourne’s role is the clutch receiver in the offense. He has recorded 10 touchdowns in the last two seasons in the red zone. He just has a talent for finding the soft spot when he sees six. The 49ers could not have rolled the dice with just Samuel had Bourne signed elsewhere in free agency.
However, 2021 is a different story.
Once this season is concluded, assuming health is sustained, all of the rookie wide outs will have had a year of experience under their belt. So the 49ers will not be relying upon scarce options at receiver.
Considering that fact, do the 49ers really need to extend Bourne?
No, they do not. Bourne is a smooth, efficient receiver and has become a unanimous top fan favorite because he posts a ton of workout videos. But the reality is his ceiling and best role is as a No. 3 wide receiver. That’s not really a role that is pressing nor is it tough to replace.
The 49ers have plenty of players capable of filling in there. Players that they have actually used draft capital on like Jalen Hurd, Trent Taylor, Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings. You could even throw in Dante Pettis because Kyle Shanahan might still have a soft spot for him to get some redemption snaps.
The only reason why extending Bourne now makes sense is because the 49ers have made up their minds that they want to keep him. Better to lock him up now than to allow his value to potentially rise after the season. Either way, if Bourne were to bounce next season it wouldn’t be worth crying over.
Extending him now is not necessary.