Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing substances policy, league sources tell Field Yates and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The suspension is now under appeal.
Edelman, 32, missed all of the 2017 season with a torn ACL. Barring a successful appeal, he’ll have to wait a bit longer to make his return to the field.
Winning an appeal for a PED suspension is tough, but it’s not unprecedented. In 2012, cornerback Richard Sherman made his case and had his four-game ban overturned.
Over the past four seasons, Edelman has averaged 133 targets, 89 receptions, 956 yards, and five touchdowns per year. He was a major part of the Super Bowl-winning squad in 2016, hauling in 98 catches for a career-high 1,106 yards. He was also a force in the postseason, collecting another 21 catches for 342 yards and one touchdown during the Patriots’ three-game run.
The good news for the Patriots is they have a number of options at wide receiver beyond Edelman. The team figures to lean on Chris Hogan, Kenny Britt, Jordan Matthews, and Phillip Dorsett more heavily to start the year while return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson could also see some snaps on offense. Edelman’s ban could improve the odds of others such as sixth-round pick Braxton Berrios, Malcolm Mitchell, and Riley McCarron as they push to make the final cut. Still, this is a definite setback for the Patriots, who already saw Danny Amendola sign with the rival Dolphins.
Edelman is under contract with the club for one more year, per the terms of the two-year, $11MM extension he signed in 2017. If the suspension holds up, he’ll lose out on more than $470K in base pay while missing games against the Texans, Jaguars, Lions, and Dolphins.
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