Chiefs Pushed to Replace Marquez Valdes-Scantling With ‘Reliable Chain Mover’

Outside of rookie Rashee Rice, the Kansas City Chiefs’ wide receivers didn’t really live up to their salaries in 2023. For that reason, veteran Marquez Valdes-Scantling became an easy cap casualty ahead of NFL free agency.

General manager Brett Veach will be tasked with surrounding quarterback Patrick Mahomes with more reliable pass-catchers as the Chiefs try for a three-peat, and Last Word On Sports writer Anthony Palacios suggested Kendrick Bourne as an interesting option to replace “MVS” on March 1.

“They would still need to add talent from the draft to fill in depth for the future,” Palacios voiced. “However, Bourne has been a reliable chain mover for numerous years. He could be the next threat to go deep to win those man-to-man coverages and find himself open.”

An underrated producer at WR, Bourne led the New England Patriots in yards per game last season with 50.8 per appearance. Unfortunately, a torn ACL ended his season after just eight outings — although the former San Francisco 49ers UDFA success story was on pace for a career-high in yardage before the ailment.

“Bourne was ranked inside the Top 20 in yards after catch per reception among wide receivers with at least 55 targets,” Palacios noted within his article. He also expressed that “Bourne could have the versatility and production that the Chiefs are in dire need of taking the load off Rice, [Travis] Kelce and [Isiah] Pacheco.”

On his career, Bourne has a reception percentage of 67.5%, which would be a massive improvement on Valdes-Scantling’s 50.3% catch rate. 203 of his 406 receiving yards came after the catch in 2023.

Kendrick Bourne Has Always Outperformed His Contracts
Palacios hinted that Bourne’s injury could lower his market in free agency, making him an affordable candidate for KC. Perhaps, an incentive-laden contract might work for both parties, considering the 28-year-old wideout has always outperformed his deals in the past.

Entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent, Bourne earned $1.67 million with the Niners over his first few years despite only being guaranteed $25,000. He followed that up by cashing 100% of his restricted free agent contract — which paid out $3.259 million in 2020.

In 2021, Bourne took his talents to New England, signing a three-year, $15 million deal with just $5.25 million in guarantees. Most times, an agreement like this one ends in an early release, similar to MVS.

It didn’t go that way for Bourne.

Continuing the trend of his entire career, Bourne earned 107.1% of his contract with the Patriots, making approximately $16.059 million over three seasons. Now, he’s an unrestricted free agent once again.

“The bottom line is that Kansas City doesn’t have a lot of spending money since they’ll want most of their key starters to return,” Palacios concluded. “So, adding Bourne to a cheap two-year deal until they find their next franchise receiver could be wise.”

Kendrick Bourne Faced off Against Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV
Kansas City should remember Bourne well. The veteran WR faced off against them during the 2019-20 championship game — also known as the first Super Bowl matchup between Andy Reid’s Chiefs and Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers.

It was a weak passing effort from San Francisco that evening, but Bourne ended up leading all Niners’ skill position players in receiving yards with 42 off two catches. If you include KC players, that total was fourth behind Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Kelce.

Either way, it was a clutch performance from Bourne considering he only logged 28 offensive snaps.

Later in his career, the role player had another huge playoff performance with the Patriots. In a wildcard round loss to the Buffalo Bills after the 2021 campaign, Bourne held up his end of the bargain catching 7-of-8 targets for 77 yards and two touchdowns.

From the looks of it, Bourne isn’t just reliable, he comes up big when it matters most — similar to the pass-catcher he’d be replacing.

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