Julian Edelman

Patriots Activate Edelman, Cut Barner

New England will venture into its Week 4 game thin at running back, though the Patriots’ wide receiver situation will be in as good of shape as it’s been all year.

Julian Edelman‘s return Thursday night forced the Patriots to make a roster move, and they’re opting to release running back Kenjon Barner, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. Barner’s bounced on and off the Pats’ roster this season, but his latest departure leaves them thin in the backfield.

With Rex Burkhead and Jeremy Hill on IR, the Patriots will go into their Week 5 Colts matchup with just James White and Sony Michel healthy. That’s a thin contingent of able backs, but both played well last week. Barring injury, the Patriots should be able to navigate this situation. However, either White or Michel going down would bring about some problems.

Barner saw action against the Dolphins, taking three handoffs for 11 yards. He has not, however, worked as a kick or punt returner this season. Those have been his primary responsibilities as an NFLer. That said, the Patriots will surely make a running back transaction in the near future — possibly bringing Barner back again — to round out their roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ingram, Edelman To Return In Week 5

As we approach Week 5 of the NFL season, several NFL players are returning from four-game bans. As noted by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), that list includes notables such as Saints running back Mark Ingram, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving, Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget, Colts running back Robert Turbin, Raiders cornerback Daryl Worley, Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith

Players do not count against a team’s roster max while suspended, so clubs will have to make room for these players before adding them for Week 5. There will be some tough decisions to make, but the upside is clear in most of these cases, particularly when it comes to offensive weapons like Ingram and Edelman or defensive pillars like Burfict and Irving.

Alvin Kamara should remain the focal point of the Saints’ running game, but the return of Ingram will give opposing defenses something else to think about. And, as we saw in the first three weeks of the Patriots’ season, Edelman has been sorely missed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Darnold, Patriots, Allen

Two rookies remain unsigned: Sam Darnold and Roquan Smith. The Jets are working on a deal with a quarterback they’ve been thrilled about throughout the offseason, one who was supposed to have a legitimate chance at a Week 1 starting job, but Darnold’s camp absence isn’t doing him any favors. Offset language was thought to be a sticking point here, but NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes (video link) that isn’t the case (or isn’t any longer). Instead, the quarterback’s guarantees — and how and when they would void — represent why the former USC standout hasn’t signed. Void issues have also come up in the Bears’ discussions with Smith. CAA represents both Darnold and Smith. The Jets began their first practice this afternoon.

Here’s the latest from the AFC East:

  • A former AFC East quarterback was not planning to leave during what turned out to be his final offseason in the division. Jimmy Garoppolo was searching for Boston-area real estate last summer, Joon Lee of Bleacher Report notes. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe adds this should help put an end to speculation the Patriots were planning all along to unload their former backup quarterback. Volin writes Bill Belichick was indeed overruled about a plan to keep Garoppolo as the heir apparent — which would have induced complex math because of the current 49ers quarterback’s rookie contract expiring and Tom Brady not yet retired — before an 11th-hour trade to San Francisco.
  • Brady did not deny that he communicated with Josh McDaniels during the period after the Super Bowl when he backtracked on accepting the Colts’ HC job, the longtime Patriots quarterback said Saturday (via James Palmer of NFL.com, on Twitter). When asked if he spoke with his then-outgoing OC about potentially staying in New England instead, Brady said he “always” talks to McDaniels, who is now back for a seventh season in his second stint as Pats OC.
  • Julian Edelman addressed his suspension Saturday and said this second straight September off will allow him to get his knee fully ready to go. “It’s disappointing with the penalty and the findings,” Edelman said, via Doug Kyed of NESN.com. “And I’m definitely accountable for that. I have to follow the protocols a little better and make sure this never happens again.” Edelman contested the suspension but saw his appeal fail. The 10th-year slot receiver tore an ACL during the 2017 preseason but is expected to be ready to go upon his now-October debut date.
  • Josh Allen‘s been the best Bills quarterback in camp thus far, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW observes. The raw Wyoming-honed talent outshined A.J. McCarron and Nathan Peterman on Saturday, per Buscaglia. Both of the older QBs are believed to be competing for Buffalo’s Week 1 job, with Allen believed to be set to watch as his career begins.

Patriots’ Julian Edelman Won’t Sue NFL

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman won’t follow the Tom Brady playbook when it comes to his disagreement with the league. Edelman won’t take the NFL to federal court after an arbitrator recently upheld his PED suspension, a source tells Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Instead, Edelman will focus his energy on football and prepare for his season, which will not start until Week 5. 

Edelman was suspended in early June following a violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy, and his appeal was heard in early July. There was at least some mystery regarding Edelman’s failed test, but his argument centered around the fact that the NFL mishandled the documentation and delivery of his sample.

Edelman will miss games against the Texans, Jaguars, Lions, and Dolphins before returning in Week 5 to face the Colts. The Patriots have Kenny BrittJordan MatthewsChris HoganCordarrelle PattersonMatt Slater, and Braxton Berrios to lean on (and star tight end Rob Gronkowski), but Brady will still miss his projected No. 1 target at wide receiver.

Over his past four healthy seasons, Edelman has averaged 89 catches, 956 yards, and five touchdowns per campaign. But, unfortunately, Edelman hasn’t been on the field for more than a year, as a torn ACL ended his 2017 campaign before it began. Now that he has decided against legal action, we know that it will take him an extra month before he can return to the field.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Pats, Seahawks, Texans, Giants

Although there was some mystery as to what substance caused Patriots wideout Julian Edelman to face a four-game performance-enhancing drug suspension, he didn’t question the results of the test itself in his appeal, tweets Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Instead, Edelman centered the appeal around the paperwork and documentation surrounding his failed test. In the end, the actual substance that triggered Edelman’s failed test doesn’t matter, as the NFL has the authority to ban players who test positive for unrecognizable substances. Edelman’s appeal was denied today, meaning he’ll miss the first quarter of New England’s 2018 campaign.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • While offensive guard J.R. Sweezy met with the Seahawks earlier this week, a signing may not occur any time soon, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link). Sweezy was earning $6.5MM annually on his contract with the Buccaneers, and given that he won’t earn anything close to that amount with Seattle, the veteran lineman could choose to wait for a better opportunity. The Seahawks, for their part, don’t need to rush, either, according to Condotta: Seattle’s offensive line is mostly set, and while Sweezy would offer familiarity after spending the 2012-14 seasons with the Seahawks, the club could give reps to its younger linemen before inking Sweezy down the road.
  • Given that starter C.J. Fiedorowicz was forced to retire earlier this year following a series of concussions, the Texans are hoping a “collective effort” will be able to replace his production at the position. “It’s was unfortunate that C.J. Fiedorowicz had to retire but we’ve been very fortunate having a good room, having a bunch of guys come to work, coming to get better,” Texans tight ends coach Tim Kelly told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “Really taking the coaching. I’m fortunate to have those guys in there and really coming in and working hard.” Ryan Griffin looks like the early favorite to start if only due to his experience (six seasons), but Stephen Anderson, rookies Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas, MyCole Pruitt, Matt Lengel, and others could also chip in.
  • Giants third-round defensive lineman B.J. Hill could become an immediate starter, according to Matt Lombardo of NJ.com. As of now, Hill is penciled one of New York’s starting defensive ends opposite Dalvin Tomlinson. The Giants are switching to a 3-4 scheme under new defensive coordinator James Bettcher, but one of Bettcher’s hand-picked additions — ex-Cardinals defender Josh Mauro — is suspended for the first quarter of the 2018 season. While Mauro could certainly reclaim a starting spot when he returns, Hill could use the first quarter of the year to run with the job.

Julian Edelman’s Suspension Appeal Denied

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman‘s appeal of his four-game suspension has failed, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Edelman was suspended in early June following a violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy, and his appeal was heard last Monday. NFL bans aren’t often overturned, so the fact that Edelman will be forced to serve his four-game suspension isn’t particularly surprising, although there was at least some mystery regarding Edelman’s failed test. Edelman, for his part, was expected to argue the league mishandled the documentation and delivery of his sample.

Edelman will miss contests against the Texans, Jaguars, Lions, and Dolphins as the Patriots complete the first quarter of their season, and his absence could give other New England wideouts a chance to produce, or even a better shot at making the club’s initial roster. Kenny BrittJordan MatthewsChris HoganCordarrelle PattersonMatt Slater, and Braxton Berrios are among the options that will be at Tom Brady‘s disposal while Edelman is sidelined.

Over his past four healthy 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 Patriots squad in 2016, hauling in 98 catches for a career-high 1,106 yards. However, the 32-year-old Edelman hasn’t been on the field for more than a year, as a torn ACL ended his 2017 campaign before it began.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Wilcox, Edelman

Earlier this month, the 49ers thought they had a deal with free agent J.J. Wilcox. However, the safety backed out of the agreement at the last minute in order to sign with the Jets. Ultimately, Wilcox says it was an easy call for him to make.

It was a three-way decision. It was the 49ers, the Jets and my family,” Wilcox said (via NewYorkJets.com). “We came to a decision that it was best to come here. It was an opportunity that was un-turn-down-able and you’ve just got to take it.

Wilcox indicated that the presence of head coach Todd Bowles was a significant factor in his decision. Wilcox and Bowles first became acquainted with each other during his pre-draft process. Although Bowles’ Cardinals did not draft him in 2013, Wilcox said he gained a great deal of respect for Bowles and liked the idea of playing for a former safety.

He was a defensive-minded coach, he played the position,” Wilcox said. “When you look at that kind of stuff, you want to go to a guy that knows your position who knows how to make players into great players.”

After signing a one-year, $1.25MM deal with the Jets, Wilcox is now set to be one of the team’s top reserve safeties in the wake of Rontez Miles‘ knee injury.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Julian Edelman should learn the outcome of his appeal rather soon, but it’s hard to say exactly when that will happen, as Mike Florio of PFT writes. The Patriots wide receiver is fighting a four-game ban for a violation of the PED policy and the appeal reportedly got underway on Monday. The CBA dictates that the arbitrator must deliver a ruling within three business days of the completion of the hearing or receipt of the transcript, whichever comes later. Hypothetically, if the transcript is received by the arbitrator on Friday, June 29, a ruling could come down by Thursday, July 5. If the suspension sticks, Edelman will miss games against the Texans, Jaguars, Lions, and Dolphins.
  • The Jets‘ belief in Eric Tomlinson probably factored into their decision to let Austin Seferian-Jenkins walk in free agency, Brian Costello of the New York Post writes. The Jets are hoping that Tomlinson’s blocking – along with the play of Jordan Leggett, Neal Sterling, and Chris Herndon – will get the job done. Tomlinson also flashed receiving skills in a limited sample last year, so he could be a factor in the passing game as well.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Edelman, Jets, Darnold, Long

Julian Edelman took the next step in fighting his four game suspension when his team made their arguments in his suspension appeal today. It was reported earlier today that the star Patriots receiver would be challenging the process through which Edelman tested positive for a banned substance, claiming that the league mishandled his samples and that there were errors in the chain of custody.

Now that the hearing is over, more details are trickling in. The hearing reportedly “lasted most of the day” according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Pelissero adds that there’s “no firm timetable” for a ruling on the matter but that “it could be next week.” While the overturning of suspensions in the appeals process is rare, it’s certainly not unheard of. It could be a while before we have any clarity on the situation.

For now, here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Although the Jets signed center Spencer Long to a four-year $27.5MM deal this past March, the team isn’t necessarily committed to him longterm, according to Brian Costello of the NY Post. Costello points out that while the deal “looks big on the surface”, all the “guaranteed money is in this season.” Costello thinks “if Long struggles or cannot stay on the field, the Jets could move on after this season easily.”
  • Sam Darnold might be one of the youngest quarterbacks drafted in league history, but that doesn’t mean he can’t start for the Jets right away. “There’s a better than 50-50 chance he wins the job outright in camp” opines Albert Breer of SI.com. In that scenario, Josh McCown would likely back up the rookie, which would make it more likely that popular trade candidate Teddy Bridgewater is dealt.
  • In case you missed it, check out the latest on Edelman and the details about what exactly his appeals team of high-priced lawyers are arguing.

Latest On Patriots’ Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman‘s appeal of his four-game drug suspension will be heard on Monday, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com hears. Edelman’s camp, in part, will argue that the league mishandled the documentation and delivery of the wide receiver’s test results. 

Edelman’s team is prepared to present a two-pronged attack on the league’s claims of PED use. Not only will he call the league’s handling of the samples into question, but Edelman will also point out the substance he tested positive for wasn’t one the league’s drug testers recognized.

Edelman, 32, missed the entire 2017 season after tearing an ACL during the preseason. If his suspension stands, he’ll have to wait an extra four games before making his return.

Naturally, the wide receiver is desperate to get back on the field. And, with that in mind, Graziano openly wonders whether this case could drag into federal court, similar to how Deflategate played out. It should be noted that Edelman is being represented by Alex Spiro, a high-priced New York attorney who has represented many NBA players in legal matters. Should Edelman lose his appeal, it’s a situation worth keeping an eye on.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Edelman, Jets

There’s some mystery surrounding Julian Edelman‘s positive test for a performance-enhancing substance, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Edelman will get off scot-free, as Mike Florio of PFT writes.

Edelman reportedly tested positive for a substance that wasn’t immediately recognizable, but the PED policy dictates that players can be suspended for “substances with a similar chemical structure and similar biological effect(s)” to the 71 specifically banned substances. The league will have to make its case in Edelman’s appeal, but the presence of the catch-all language in the PED policy could swing arbitration in its favor.

Here’s more from the AFC East: