After suffering a knee injury in Week 7 and landing on IR, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman did not suit up again this season. Now going into the final year of his contract, and at 35 years old by the time the 2021 season starts, his future with the Patriots is unclear.
For what it’s worth, in his patented verbal shorthand, head coach Bill Belichick didn’t seem too optimistic Edelman would be back as the season wound down.
“Yeah, I think it’s way too early to start talking about next year,” Belichick said, via CBS Boston.
If the Patriots release Edelman, according to Over The Cap, they would clear a little over $3.4 million in cap space with a $2.6 million dead money hit. So the financial implications aren’t impactful either way. It may simply be a question of Edelman’s health coming off knee surgery, and how the Patriots restock the wide receiver cupboard this offseason.
If Edelman is let go by the Patriots, which is a fairly big “if”, these five teams make sense as potential landing spots.
5 possible landing spots for Julian Edelman
5. New York Giants
The Giants are sure to part ways with Golden Tate this offseason, which would leave them with a need for a veteran presence at wide receiver. Head coach Joe Judge spent eight seasons as a Patriots assistant (2012-2019), mostly on special teams before adding wide receivers coach to his title in his finals season. So that means he worked closely with Edelman, who had been a regular punt returner for the Patriots before this season.
4. San Francisco 49ers
Edelman grew up in the Bay Area, so continuing his career (finishing his career?) with the 49ers may appeal to him. Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk are nice players, but San Francisco could use reinforcements at wide receiver. Edelman seems like a fit as a reliable veteran, with the added idea of Jimmy Garoppolo being back as the quarterback for a Patriots’ reunion.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement to rejoin Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, it was easy to speculate about the Buccaneers trying to trade for Edelman and really put the band back together. That of course didn’t happen. Depending on what happens with Chris Godwin’s free agency, the team could be in the market for a wide receiver. Edelman wouldn’t solve the problem as a parallel replacement for Godwin on his own. But any list of his possible landing spots isn’t complete without mentioning a reunion with Brady.
2. Tennessee Titans
The Titans have question marks at wide receiver heading toward the offseason, with Corey Davis hitting free agency and Adam Humphries carrying the fifth-highest 2021 cap hit on the team right now ($9.75 million). Cutting Humphries would be almost equal in dead money and cap savings, but Edelman would be a cheaper alternative for the same slot role.
Titans GM Jon Robinson spent a long time in the Patriots’ organization, and he was director of college scouting when Edelman was a seventh-round pick in 2009. And of course, head coach Mike Vrabel played for the Patriots before Edelman arrived.
1. Miami Dolphins
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores spent 11 seasons on the Patriots’ coaching staff, with Edelman on the roster for the last 10. Miami also badly needs to bolster their wide receiver group this offseason. Edelman profiles as the kind of reliable veteran target Tua Tagovailoa needs.