The 49ers may have just signed their replacement for Kendrick Bourne.
They just announced they have signed veteran slot receiver Marqise Lee to a one-year deal. Lee is similar to Bourne, in the sense they're both possession receivers who make most of their catches over the middle. Last year, Lee signed with the New England Patriots before he opted out of the entire season because of Covid-19. Then this offseason, the Patriots released Lee and signed Bourne to replace him. And now, the 49ers have signed Lee to replace Bourne.
It's the circle of life in the NFL.
The 49ers invited Lee to participate in their rookie mini-camp this past weekend -- veterans were allowed to attend this season -- and he clearly was the best wide receiver on the field. During seven-on-seven drills, he made an incredibly difficult catch over the middle to save a potential interception -- rookie quarterback Trey Lance had fired a dangerous pass into a crowd, and Lee bailed him out. The next two practices were closed to the media, but I'm assuming Lee continued to play well, considering the 49ers just gave him a contract.
Lee was a monster as USC. In 2012, he gained 2,683 all-purpose yards in a mere 13 games as a wide receiver and a kick returner. But he has been dealing with injuries on and off since 2013, and hasn't lived up to the promise he showed initially in college.
To be fair, Lee has played his entire career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and had to catch passes from Blake Bortles and Gardner Minshew. Perhaps now that Lee is on a good team with a talented young quarterback, he can fulfill his potential.
He'll have to stay healthy, though. Lee has caught exactly four passes since 2017. So there's no guarantee he'll even make the team. But he's off to a good start.