Bourne said Wednesday that he and the 49ers are discussing a new contract, Cam Inman of The San Jose Mercury News reports. Bourne acknowledged that he won't be the team's top priority this offseason, but he still hopes to work something out. The 2017 undrafted free agent is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time, following a 2020 campaign in which he posted career highs for targets (74), catches (49), receiving yards (667), yards per catch (13.6) and yards per target (9.0). Bourne never saw a ton of volume, but his ability to play both outside and in the slot helped San Francisco's offense remain semi-respectable amidst an onslaught of injuries. Bourne will turn 26 in August, and he believes his experience in head coach Kyle Shanahan's system will serve him well even if he doesn't stay in San Francisco.
Bourne finished the 202 season with 49 receptions (74 targets) for 667 yards and two touchdowns over 15 contests. The 49ers had high hopes for their trio of high-round picks entering the 2020 season, but just like most things last calendar year, nothing went as planned. Deebo Samuel (second round in 2019) suffered a foot injury during training camp and Dante Pettis (second round in 2018) squandered yet another opportunity and wound up being released in October. Brandon Aiyuk (first round in 2020) had the best season of the high-pedigree trio -- despite missing games due to injury himself -- and Bourne consistently stepped in as a reliable starting option for head coach Kyle Shanahan. The undrafted wideout posted the highest reception average (13.6 YPR) of any qualified San Francisco starter while accounting for 13.1 percent of the team's targets. The 49ers' run-heavy gameplan and mediocre quarterback play kept Bourne from ever cracking lineups in standard fantasy formats. The 25-year-old doesn't possess tremendous upside, but his soft hands and consistent play could shine brighter if he lands with a more pass-friendly offense as he enters free agency this upcoming offseason.
Bourne logged just 19 snaps on offense (34 percent) Saturday, catching his lone target for 16 yards in a 20-12 win over Arizona. The 49ers featured a heavy rushing gameplan against the Cardinals, resulting in just 22 pass attempts, with only four going toward wide receivers. Bourne also saw his playing time decrease as a result of George Kittle coming off injured reserve, as the team ran more formations with two tight ends and two or fewer wideouts on the field. Two of San Francisco's top three pass catchers are arguably its tight ends (Kittle and Jordan Reed), so Bourne -- who is currently the team's slot man -- may struggle to see the field against Seattle on Sunday.
Bourne logged 42 offensive snaps (50 percent) and hauled in all four of his targets for 86 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 41-33 loss to Dallas. Bourne made an impressive leaping grab above a sea of Dallas defenders on a 49-yard heave by C.J. Beathard on the final play of the contest. The score had no effect on the final result, but garbage time or not, the end result was a new season high in receiving yards for the veteran wideout. Bourne is stuck at third on the depth chart even after starter Deebo Samuel (hamstring) was ruled out for the rest of the year. It was Richie James (54 snaps, four catches, seven targets and 56 yards) who jumped up to second on the depth chart starting opposite Brandon Aiyuk. It's highly improbable that Bourne will catch an amazing Hail Mary attempt every week, so expectations should be held in check while he occupies a slot/third receiver role against the Cardinals on Saturday.
Bourne caught three of seven targets for 42 yards during Sunday's 23-15 loss to Washington. Deebo Samuel (hamstring) was injured on the second play from scrimmage, leaving Bourne to pick up the slack in the passing game. He finished second on the team in targets but caught less than half the balls thrown his way and finished with rather modest production. If Samuel is forced to miss next Sunday's game against the Cowboys, Bourne could again see some extra targets.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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