After initially choosing to seek out what the free agency market has to offer during the 2014 offseason, Julian Edelman has reportedly re-signed with the Patriots. The details pertaining to the length and terms of the contract have yet to be publicized. This offseason is the second consecutive year of which Edelman was an unrestricted free agent. This time around however, Edelman had been coming off of a breakthrough season in which he posted career highs in receptions (105), receiving yards (1,056) and touchdowns (6). As a result of him coming off of his best statistical season thus far, Edelman decided to test free agency and explore various offers. Unfortunately for Edelman however, despite his breakout season in 2013 only one team being the 49ers made an effort to visit with him. Edelman, 28, will be entering his sixth season in the NFL. In 2013, Edelman was the Patriots leading receiver as well as Tom Brady’s favorite target. In addition to being a valuable asset to Tom Brady and the Patriots passing game last season, Edelman has proven himself to be a dynamic punt returner.
Last offseason, the Patriots had let made the decision to let go of wide-out Wes Welker who had previously been the teams leading receiver. In pursuit of finding a replacement for Welker last offseason, the Patriots pursued and signed wide receiver Danny Amendola. Unfortunately for the Patriots however, Amendola ended up missing the vast majority of last season due to injury. As a result, Julian Edelman was called upon to take on the role of Amendola. Clearly, Edelman stood up to the task of having an amplified role for the Patriots offense and made the most of his opportunity. Edelman has always been somewhat of an underrated receiver in the NFL since entering the league in 2009. Edelman was a seventh-round draft pick out of Kent State and converted to wide receiver from the quarterback position. Before last season, Edelman had never made much of an impact in the NFL. In 2013 however, Edelman proved himself to spectators that he is truly worthy of being an impact receiver in the NFL. Edelman’s 105 receptions last season ranked fourth most in the NFL.
With the Patriots re-signing Julian Edelman, New England’s wide receiver roster appears to remain the same as last seasons. Given the inexperience of New England’s young receiving core last season, Edelman being the veteran of the group, was the one receiver Brady could look upon to get open. Moreover, last seasons free agent signing of Danny Amendola did not pan out the way the Patriots were hoping for. Despite Danny Amendola’s injury ridden and disappointing 2013 season, the Patriots are unlikely to move him given his current contract guaranteeing him to be payed $2 million out of the $3 million currently left on his contract for the upcoming season. Looking forward into the upcoming 2014 season, it deems likely that the Patriots will pursue some stability at the wide receiver position via free agency or the upcoming NFL draft.
Commentary by Robert Lucas