Kendrick Bourne is thrilled to be with the New England Patriots. The team signed him to a three-year contract last week worth up to $15 million that guarantees him just over $5 million.
But it wasn't just the money and the opportunity to play on a second contract that he was excited about.
He now has a chance to team up with a quarterback he's watched for a long time. Despite the struggles Cam Newton and the Patriots' passing offense experienced last season, Bourne is looking forward to catching passes from the former NFL MVP.
"[Newton] called me, congratulated me after I got signed," Bourne said Monday. "It was awesome talking to him. I told him I've been a fan for a long time. His work ethic, that's the main thing that stands out to me.
"Everything he's been through these last few years, just how he works, man. That always takes over everything. He's earned his opportunities. He's earned his contract this year. I know he's going to have an awesome year.
"I'm just excited to play with him. I told him, 'Bro, I've been watching you since I was a young guy, man. It's an honor to play with you, pick your brain, and get out there with you, help you get better. I know you're going to help me get better.' "
Bourne was honest in admitting the quarterback spot wasn't necessarily at the top of his list of items to look for when determining his landing spot in free agency. He understands there is some uncertainty at the position -- Newton is on a one-year deal -- but he trusts in what the Patriots organization has been since long before he entered the league.
"I really didn't think about the quarterback situation," Bourne said when asked about his thought process prior to signing. "It's more the organization, who they are. I know they're thinking about their future also.
"But I believe in Cam Newton at the end of the day. I didn't go looking around, who's the starting quarterback here. The NFL is the NFL. I believe everybody's good. It just takes that right place, right time, right coaching and stuff like that."
"New England knows what they're doing. They picked Cam for a reason," Bourne added. "They believe in him. One-year deal. It is what it is. All it takes is one year to become who you want to be. I think he has another opportunity and that's all that matters.
"I think he's going to ball out with the weapons they brought in, the help now. It was just one of those rebuilding years they went through and stuff like that. He was a part of it. People may say he [didn't] look this good, or he looked bad or whatever it may be. But now he has some help and they know what they're putting around him, which is awesome.
"I just want to be a part of five touchdowns, 10 touchdowns for him and change the narrative."