Julian Edelman

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:

Mystery Surrounding Edelman’s Positive Test

The NFL says Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has tested positive for a substance banned under its performance-enhancing drug policy. Meanwhile, no one is exactly sure what he tested positive for. Edelman’s result was triggered by a substance that was not immediately recognizable, Albert Breer of The MMQB hears. 

Breer hears there are “scientists analyzing” the positive test. Presumably, those scientists are employed by Edelman’s camp as he mounts an appeal against a four-game suspension.

As Breer notes, it’s safe to assume that Edelman did not test positive for any sort of stimulant. The test in question was conducted in the offseason, following a year spent on injured reserve. Had Edelman tested positive for Adderall, he would have been suspended under the league’s substances of abuse policy – popping positive for Adderall merits a PED suspension during the season, but is classified as an abuse policy violation in the offseason.

Per league rules, Edelman’s case will be heard by a neutral arbitrator. If his ban stands, he’ll miss the first four games of the year against the Texans, Jaguars, Lions, and Dolphins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Reactions To Julian Edelman’s Pending Suspension

We learned earlier today that Patriots wideout Julian Edelman was facing a four-game ban for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing substances policy. Naturally, some football pundits turned their eyes to trainer Alex Guerrero, who has worked with several Patriots players, including Edelman and Tom Brady.

After the news broke, Guerrero told NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran that he had nothing to do with the alleged performance-enhancing drugs.

“I’ve known Julian since his rookie year and he is a phenomenal athlete who takes his training seriously – it’s disappointing to hear today’s news,” Guerrero said (Twitter links). “Elite athletes sometimes work with multiple coaches and health professionals as part of their training. 

Here at our facility, we take a natural, holistic, appropriate and, above all, legal approach to training and recovery for all of our clients. And anyone who would suggest otherwise is irresponsible, and just plain wrong.”

Here’s some more notes and opinions regarding Edelman:

  • Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe writes that Edelman’s suspension gives Bill Belichick “more ammunition” against Guerrero. Last season, the Patriots head coach banned the trainer from Gillette Stadium, despite the fact that Guerrero had long been associated with Brady. The writer ultimately questions Guerrero’s credibility, noting that “Belichick stripping Guerrero of sideline privileges is at the root of Tom vs. Bill.”
  • Meanwhile, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe has a more optimistic viewpoint on Edelman’s suspension. The wideout tore his ACL last preseason, forcing him to miss the entire 2017 campaign. Volin notes that it can be difficult for a 32-year-old wideout to come back from such an injury, and the extra month’s rest could help keep Edelman fresh throughout the year.
  • Volin also has specifics on how much money Edelman is set to sacrifice. The receiver will lose $470K in salary, $31K in roster bonuses, and $392K of his signing bonus, totaling $987K. The wideout also has another $500K in performance incentives that will now be tougher to reach.

NFL Suspends Patriots WR Julian Edelman

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Eifert, Edelman, Charles

Let’s take a quick swing around the AFC as the early afternoon slate of games gets underway:

  • Bengals TE Tyler Eifert‘s most recent injury has further clouded his free agent case, as Paul Dehner, Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes. Eifert, who is in a contract year, is again experiencing back problems, and it is uncertain when he will return to the field. As Dehner observes, the Notre Dame product is in something of a catch-22. He either suits up at less than full health, which could hurt his performance and therefore his next contract, or he could wait until he is 100% healthy but not be on the field at all, thereby reinforcing his injury-prone reputation. Dehner says the franchise tag could still be in play for Cincinnati, as it would come at a relative bargain ($9-10MM) considering Eifert’s ability, but even a one-year deal at that value might be too much for the Bengals to stomach in light of Eifert’s health concerns. He may ultimately have to settle for a one-year “prove-it” deal to reestablish his value in 2018.
  • Julian Edelman underwent surgery to repair his torn right ACL within the past week, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes. Reiss adds that everything went according to plan for the Patriots wideout, who expects to return at full strength in 2018.
  • Jamaal Charles had his best game with the Broncos last week, rushing nine times for 56 yards and a score, and his surprising success, along with the imminent return of Devontae Booker, have created a good problem for the Broncos, as Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post writes. Denver OC Mike McCoy said all three of his top backs — C.J. Anderson, Charles, and Booker — will get their fair share of reps, and there will not be a set number of carries for any of them.
  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link) says Ravens RB Alex Collins will get an increased workload in the team’s contest against the Steelers today. Collins, who was promoted off Baltimore’s taxi squad several weeks ago, has looked like the most explosive back on the roster in his limited reps, so he will get an opportunity to show what he can do in a more featured role.

Fallout From Julian Edelman Injury

Tom Brady offered hopes Julian Edelman could come back this season after the Patriots‘ third preseason game Friday night, but after the team confirmed earlier today the ninth-year wideout tore his right ACL, the Pats will have to adjust again. The team’s primary slot receiver post-Wes Welker, Edelman recorded a career-high 1,106 receiving yards last season and played in 16 games. Edelman missed nearly half the season in 2015, and Brady’s production dipped without his top volume target. The iconic quarterback’s completion rate plummeted from 68 percent in nine Edelman games to 60 percent in seven contests without him. But the Patriots, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes, are deeper now and are expected to use a group effort to replace the 31-year-old receiver.

New England now employs Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan, along with second-year player Malcolm Mitchell and a slew of viable receiving backs. Danny Amendola served as Edelman’s primary replacement in 2015, and the veteran figures to be part of the solution two years later. Florio uses New England’s 2016 Super Bowl run as an example of the resourceful team winning without a key pass-catcher. While the Pats won Super Bowl LI without Rob Gronkowski‘s services down the stretch, it’s hard to bank on the all-world tight end being available throughout this now-Edelman-less season. That said, Gronkowski did play in 15 games in both 2014 and ’15. Brady’s only played one game without Gronk or Edelman — 2015 loss to the Eagles — since the pair became the Patriots’ top chain-movers four years ago.

Here’s the latest fallout from the injury situation.

  • AFC execs and coaches concur with Florio’s assessment, to some degree. “They’ll find another way to do it. So initially, [it’ll hurt them] some, but in the end not much at all,” an AFC coach texted Albert Breer of SI.com. Another added: “Amendola will have to stay healthy and pick up the slack. It won’t be easy, but they’ll make it work.” The 31-year-old Amendola reworked his contract again this offseason to stay with the Pats in what is the final year of his deal. Amendola amassed 243 air yards last season. “Health of others is key,” an AFC exec said, via Breer. “Amendola and [Gronkowski] need to stay healthy, but their offense is diverse enough to pick it up.”
  • Edelman will still make nearly $7MM this season, with Ben Volin of the Boston Globe (Twitter link) relaying that in addition to his $3MM base salary, the slot bastion collected $3.5MM of his signing bonus and $250K workout bonus. Edelman, though, will miss out on $750K in per-game roster bonuses and a possible $500K in incentives, via Volin (on Twitter).
  • Anquan Boldin retired from the Bills last weekend and would be an intriguing fit if the 36-year-old pass-catcher could be convinced to delay his busy-looking post-career endeavors, but Volin tweets Buffalo placed Boldin on its reserve/retired list. The Bills hold his rights and would have to relinquish them to green-light a Boldin/Patriots future. Boldin also said a day after his retirement intentions surfaced he won’t make a late-season return, insisting he’s done with the game.
  • Edelman will stick around Foxborough to do his rehab, Volin tweets, likely offering help to his replacements as they attempt to fill the void created by the absence of one of the game’s top slot targets.

Patriots WR Julian Edelman Tears ACL, Out For Season

An MRI today has confirmed what the Patriots were fearing. According to Albert Breer of the MMQB.com (via Twitter), wideout Julian Edelman has “a complete ACL tear in his right knee.” Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the receiver will miss the entire season.

The Patriots confirmed the tear, and Tom Curran of CSNNE.com tweets the team will place the ninth-year wide receiver on IR.

Julian EdelmanEdelman suffered the non-contact injury during the first quarter of last night’s preseason game against the Lions. The veteran was carted off the field after having already collected three catches for 52 yards. The 31-year-old has suffered a number of injuries during his career, as he’s missed nine regular season games since becoming a full-time starter in 2013. However, he’s yet to miss an entire season.

The receiver’s presumed absence from the offense shouldn’t be underestimated. 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 last season, 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. Following the season, the Patriots inked the former seventh-round pick to a two-year, $11MM extension.

While losing Edelman will certainly hurt, the Patriots have plenty of depth to make up for his absence. The team acquired Brandin Cooks earlier this offseason, adding another 1,000-yard receiver to their talented corps. Chris Hogan, who finished last season with 680 yards and four scores, will presumably slide up to the Patriots’ second receiver spot. The team could also lean on veteran Danny Amendola or 2016 fourth-rounder Malcolm Mitchell to pick up some of Edelman’s targets.

Of course, the team is also expecting full health from tight end Rob Gronkowski, and they acquired Dwayne Allen to serve as a backup. There’s also running backs James White and Dion Lewis, who have proved to be dependable targets. If any vicarious roster move were to come out of the Edelman injury, it may be the addition of undrafted rookie wideout Austin Carr to the active squad. The Northwestern product has led the Patriots with 11 receptions for 105 yards this preseason, but the Patriots’ receiver depth put the rookie on the roster bubble.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pats Suspect ACL Tear For Julian Edelman

The Patriots suspect that wide receiver Julian Edelman suffered a torn right ACL in the first quarter of their game against the Lions on Friday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports (Twitter link). He’ll undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Julian Edelman

Edelman departed after succumbing to a non-contact injury on an 18-yard catch and then went to the locker room on a cart. He hauled in three passes for 52 yards in limited action, once again displaying his importance to New England’s Tom Brady-led offense.

Edelman, who has emerged as one of the NFL’s premier wideouts in recent years, finished fourth in the league in both targets per game (9.8) and receptions (98) during the Patriots’ Super Bowl-winning 2016 campaign. He was also one of many postseason heroes for the squad, as he hauled in 21 playoff catches to give him 89 for his nine-year career. Only Jerry Rice (151) and Reggie Wayne (93) have amassed more playoff grabs than the 31-year-old Edelman, who looks like a shoo-in to at least surpass the latter at some point. Unfortunately for the Patriots and Edelman, though, it doesn’t appear he’ll accomplish that feat this season.

The recipient of a two-year, $11MM contract extension in June, Edelman has combined for a whopping 356 receptions in 55 games since his breakout showing in 2013. That type of production will obviously be difficult to replace this season, but the Patriots are still equipped with plenty of quality targets. Newcomer Brandin Cooks will take the helm of what should be an Edelman-less receiving corps, while Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell also figure to make sizable impacts. What’s more, the Pats likely have the best tight end duo in the league – Rob Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen – as well as established pass-catching running backs in James White and Dion Lewis. Brady will have no shortage of options at his disposal this year, then, but his favorite choice is unlikely to be a factor as the team goes for its sixth Lombardi Trophy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Julian Edelman Suffers Knee Injury

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman exited the team’s game against the Lions in the first quarter on Friday after he suffered a non-contact right knee injury, the Pats confirmed. Edelman limped off the field after an 18-yard reception and then went to the locker room on a cart. His injury looks “consistent” with an ACL tear, Dr. David Chao of Sirius XM tweets.

Julian Edelman (vertical)

Edelman, who’s in his ninth season with the Patriots, has long been one of quarterback Tom Brady‘s favorite targets, having amassed 425 receptions and 24 touchdowns during his time in New England. The 31-year-old totaled 98 catches, a career-best 1,106 yards and three touchdowns last season and tallied 21 more receptions for 342 yards and a score during the Patriots’ Super Bowl-winning playoff run. Edelman ranks third all-time in postseason catches (89) and has been part of two Super Bowl championship teams in New England, which awarded him a two-year, $11MM contract extension in June.

A severe injury to Edelman would ostensibly damage the Patriots’ chances of winning their sixth title of the Brady/Bill Belichick era this season, though their offense would remain in an enviable position even without him. The Pats continue to boast offseason acquisition Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and Danny Amendola at wideout, while Rob Gronkowski and trade pickup Dwayne Allen lead their tight ends. They also possess multiple pass-catching running backs in James White – who, like Edelman, was instrumental in the Pats’ Super Bowl LI win over the Falcons – and Dion Lewis.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: 49ers, NFLPA, OBJ, Ihedigbo

Pass rusher Elvis Dumervil told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area that he spoke with a “handful of teams” between his release from the Ravens in March and his signing with the 49ers this week. In the end, Dumervil’s familiarity with general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan helped direct him to San Francisco. Dumervil played with Lynch in Denver from 2006-07, when Kyle Shanahan’s father, Mike Shanahan, was the Broncos’ coach. The elder Shanahan drafted Dumervil, who has since racked up 99 sacks. Now, even though he’s 33 and coming off an Achilles injury that limited him to eight games last season, Dumervil feels “great” and believes he has “a few years left, for sure.”

More from around the league:

  • The NFL Players Association has taken issue with around 160 rookie contracts, believing those deals are in violation of the collective bargaining agreement, reports Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. The union is considering filing a grievance to void those agreements, with spokesman George Atallah stating, “The CBA explicitly prohibits players from some of the language that we have seen the clubs attempt to impose in these deals. We are considering all of our options to protect the players and enforce the CBA.” In the NFLPA’s estimation, the majority of the league’s 32 teams – 25 or 26 – have included prohibited language in rookie contracts this year.
  • Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. could land a $100MM contract eventually. For now, though, the Giants have all the leverage, observes Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com. Beckham’s on a dirt-cheap $1.8MM salary this season, and he’s controllable in 2018 via an eminently affordable fifth-year option ($8.5MM). After that, Beckham could get the $18.3MM franchise tag in 2019, meaning he’d only cost Big Blue $28.6MM over the next three seasons. Even if the Giants were to tag Beckham again in 2020, the four-year total would still be a more-than-reasonable $50.6MM.
  • Free agent safety James Ihedigbo was recently slapped with a four-game suspension and is coming off a season in which he landed on IR after breaking his leg, but he is optimistic about his chances of suiting up in 2017, as Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes. Ihedigbo says his leg is completely healed and that he has received interest from several teams in recent weeks.
  • Patriots receiver Julian Edelman‘s two-year, $11MM extension comes with $500K workout and roster bonuses in both seasons, $500K in available incentives in 2018 and $3.5MM in available incentives in 2019, per Tom Curran of CSNNE.com.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.