Julian Edelman

Extra Points: Newton, Barkley, Edelman

The Panthers’ season got off to a disastrous start, as the team limped out to an 0-2 record and Cam Newton re-injured himself. It looked like they were quickly circling the drain, and then Kyle Allen happened. Allen was nearly perfect starting in place of Newton, averaging ten yards per attempt and tossing four touchdowns while leading Carolina to a road win over Arizona. Allen’s performance was so strong, that it sparked some talk of a potential quarterback controversy.

Speaking after the game Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said the starting job is still Newton’s when he’s healthy but that right now they’re “rolling” with Allen, per Joseph Person of The Athletic (Twitter link). Newton won’t be getting benched, but Rivera’s comments don’t exactly inspire confidence that he’ll be back soon. Newton aggravated a foot injury he suffered during the preseason, and his throwing shoulder which he underwent surgery on this offseason hasn’t looked 100 percent either. It’ll be very interesting too see what happens next, but with Allen’s emergence it appears Carolina’s quarterback situation isn’t as dire as it originally seemed.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • We’ve heard that Giants running back Saquon Barkley has suffered a high ankle sprain and is going to miss some time, and now we have Barkley’s thoughts on his injury. “I’m not out for the season,” Barkley said, via Matt Lombardo of NJ.com. “I’m going to do whatever I can to get back as quickly as possible.” Barkley told Jordan Ranaan of ESPN.com that he had a high ankle sprain his freshman year at Penn State, and that he only missed two games with that injury (Twitter link). Right now two missed games would probably be a best-case scenario.
  • Patriots receiver Julian Edelman was knocked out of New England’s win over the Jets with a rib injury, but fortunately it doesn’t seem too serious. X-Rays on his ribs were negative, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport writes that it’s an “early positive sign,” which would seem to suggest he isn’t completely out of the woods yet. In the wake of Antonio Brown‘s release, the Patriots’ receiving corp would suddenly go from loaded to a bit thin if Edelman has to miss any time.
  • In case you missed it, Redskins tight end Jordan Reed‘s career is in doubt.

Patriots Notes: Edelman, Hoyer, Punter

Over the past 10 years, there have only been two occasions where the Patriots have carried three quarterbacks. With Tom Brady and rookie fourth-rounder Jarrett Stidham being locks to make the team, Brian Hoyer understandably finds himself on the roster bubble.

“You can’t really worry about that. My approach is to just be the best I can be, and I think that will be good enough,” Hoyer told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “It’s not something I’m really concerned with. If anything, I’m trying to push the guy ahead of me, and I love being in that room with him. We have such a healthy competition on a daily basis, and I know that’s made me that much better since I’ve come back.”

After spending the first three years of his career with the Patriots, Hoyer returned to New England following the Jimmy Garoppolo trade in 2017. Reiss notes that the 33-year-old has been “very sharp” over the past few weeks, which could end up validating his spot on the roster.

Let’s check out some more notes out of New England…

  • Patriots wideout Julian Edelman has passed his physical and been removed from the non-football injury list, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The veteran suffered a thumb injury in late-July that ultimately sidelined him for about three weeks. It’s been a busy few days for the Pats’ wide receiver corps. Embattled wideout Josh Gordon was reinstated from suspension on Friday, and he was subsequently placed on the team’s active/NFI list. To make room on the roster, the organization moved on from Dontrelle Inman.
  • The Patriots are set to release veteran punter Ryan Allen, but it sounds like they might not be ready to hand over the keys to rookie Jake Bailey. Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com tweets that the Patriots made a claim for punter Johnny Townsend, who was waived by the Raiders last week. The Giants ended up claiming the 2018 fifth-rounder.
  • While the Patriots tight end depth chart is still a question mark, Nick Underhill of The Athletic writes that the team’s offense is trending upwards. Last week, the team was running out the likes of Braxton Berrios and Gunner Olszewski with their first-team offense. Several days later, the team’s depth chart has been revamped. It goes beyond the return of Edelman and Gordon, as the team has potentially found some worthy targets in undrafted wideout Jakobi Meyers and third-round running back Damien Harris. Add that pair to Phillip Dorsett and first-rounder N’Keal Harry (as well as running backs James White, Sony Michel, and Rex Burkhead), and there’s plenty of reason for optimism in New England.

Patriots Work Out Justin Hunter

The Patriots worked out four wide receivers on Monday, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Free agents Nick Williams (Titans), Justin Hunter (Steelers), Papi White (Jaguars), and Travin Dural (Saints) all showed their stuff for the Pats, who will be without Julian Edelman for the next three weeks because of a thumb injury. 

Hunter seemed to hold serious promise when he entered the league as a second round pick of the Titans in 2013. Since then, he has spent time with three other teams, with the Steelers being the most recent of the bunch. He has managed just 14 catches with the Bills, Dolphins, and Steelers between 2017 and 2018. Last year, he did not see the field. His best season came most productive season came in 2014 when he had 28 catches for 498 yards and three scores with the Titans, though he did manage four TDs with Buffalo in 2016.

Hunter and the other players won’t have the easiest path towards making the Patriots’ final cut, but one of them may have an outside opportunity to hook on with the defending champs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Edelman, AAF, XFL

We haven’t heard a whole lot about the defunct Alliance of American Football since the league suspended operations back in April. However, according to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, former league owner Tom Dundon has filed “as an unsecured creditor” for the AAF and is claiming he was convinced to buy the league via “misrepresentations.” Dundon is seeking the entirety of the $70MM he invested in the company.

The league initial secured financing from Reggie Fowler, who is currently under indictment for bank fraud. That’s when Dundon, who owns the Carolina Hurricanes, entered into the equation, as he helped make up for Fowler’s failed commitment by purchasing the league. At the time, the perception inside the league office is that Dundon simply purchased a majority stake in the company to obtain the technology behind its gambling app.

However, a lawyer told Kaplan that Dundon may have two new objectives. For starters, he was looking to “remove himself from any litigation from creditors.” Second, by opting for the “misrepresentation” charge, the league’s executive/board insurance policies could come into play, which would then “open a new pool of money.”

Let’s check out some more notes from around the football world…

  • Dundon will have a difficult time convincing the courts that he’s not responsible for the AAF’s $48MM in liabilities, reports Roy Cummings of Florida Football Insiders. Specially, when Dundon “assumed all of the operational costs,” this meant he was responsible for making payroll. Furthermore, his public declarations that he would continue to invest money (around $250MM) into the league indicates that he was both prepared and capable to pay for any debts. Finally, considering Dundon’s standing as the Hurricanes owner, he has millions of dollars coming in each year that could be used to pay off creditors.
  • Former NFL safety Rahim Moore auditioned for the XFL last week, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. The 2011 second-rounder bounced around the NFL during his professional career, and he started 41 games for the Broncos between 2012 and 2014. The 29-year-old recently participated in the AAF, and he understands that an opportunity in the XFL would also come with its fair share of risks. “It’s still football, you know?” Moore said. “There’s a risk in everything you do. But if you love something, man, just go do it.”
  • Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman is currently on a promotional tour for an upcoming documentary, and the Patriots wide receiver discussed what he went through during his four-game suspension to start last season. “It was a low time,” Edelman said (via Florio). “You’re already battling mentally if you can do it like you did it. And then all of a sudden you have this, you’re dealing with this, and then you’re dealing with everyone outside of your life and what people are saying and dealing with and you can’t really get too involved into because you’re ultimately trying to get yourself back to playing football. It’s not like you’re 100 percent going out here and dealing with all these things, and you’re fine. You still have a task at hand, and that was one of the biggest parts of my journey back — one of the toughest times where I really had to compartmentalize with how to deal with my injury, my suspension, with being a balanced family member and getting back from my injury. And that was a very tough time. . . . It was honestly — it was probably the toughest time of my life at that point.”

Contract Details: Patriots, Edelman, Collins

A look at the details on recent deals from around the NFL:

  • Julian Edelman, WR (Patriots): Two-year extension. Worth $18.5MM, could increase to $25.5MM with incentives. $9.3MM tied to roster bonuses/performance incentives, $1.1MM in workout bonuses. Cap hits: $6.077MM (2019), $7.166MM (2020), $6.66MM (2021). Details via the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin (Twitter) and The Athletic’s Nick Underhill (Twitter).
  • Jamie Collins, LB (Patriots): One year (original story). $250K guarantee, $100K signing bonus, $900K base salary. $1.25MM injury guarantee. Earnings: $2MM (plays in all 16 games), $3MM (part-time starter), $5MM (starts all 16 games). $3MM cap hit. Details via Volin and via Underhill.
  • Brandon King, LB (Patriots): Two-year extension, $3.5MM. When combined with current deal, contract is three years, $4.875MM. 2019 salary increases from $1.175MM to $1.975MM, 2019 cap number increases from $1.359MM to $1.626MM. Details via Volin.

Patriots, Julian Edelman Agree To Extension

Julian Edelman has agreed to a two-year extension with the Patriots, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The new pact will potentially take the wide receiver through the end of his career and allow him to retire in New England. It also comes with a pay bump – Edelman will receive $18MM in new money over the course of the two-year add on, giving him $21MM throughout his remaining three years, according to Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston.

The deal comes with $8MM signing bonus and $12MM guaranteed, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (on Twitter) hears. All in all, Edelman will earn an average annual value of $7MM, which is a solid bargain for the Patriots. Even when calculating his extension via the “new money” average, Edelman’s $9MM puts him outside of the league’s top 20 highest-paid receivers.

Edelman, who turns 33 on Wednesday, had another productive season in 2018. After missing the first four games of the season due to a ban for PEDs, the veteran amassed 74 catches for 850 yards and six touchdowns. Had he produced at the same rate over the course of a full 16-game season, Edelman would have registered something close to a 93/1063/8 stat line, which is not far off from his best single season performances.

Edelman has spent his entire career with the Patriots since entering the league as a seventh-round pick (No. 232 overall) in 2009. He was quietly productive in his rookie season, but he truly broke out in 2013 with 105 grabs for 1,056 yards and six TDs. Over the years, Edelman has captured three Super Bowl rings with New England, including February’s 13-3 win over the Rams in which he took SB MVP honors.

Edelman’s career seemed to be in doubt just a couple of years ago – the wide receiver lost the entire 2017 season to a torn ACL and had to sit out the first month of the ’18 season due to his suspension. However, he came back strong and he now has a deal that should allow him to retire with the only NFL franchise he’s ever known.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.