Julian Edelman may be retired, but during an appearance in Croatia this weekend, the wideout hinted that he’d consider an NFL return. When asked if Edelman would head to Tampa Bay to reunite with Tom Brady, the receiver instead pointed to a reunion with his former team.
“I don’t know, we’ll see,” Edelman said (via Jenna Lemoncelli of the NY Post). “That’s called a little teaser. We’ll see. We’re staying in shape but you never know. But I’d probably go back to the Patriots. I love the Patriots. Foxborough Forever.”
Edelman’s knee limited him to only six games during the 2020 season. Last offseason, the Patriots released Edelman with a failed-physical designation, and the receiver later announced his retirement. Despite the decision to hang up his cleats, whispers of a move to Tampa Bay continued to persist. Edelman has continually hushed the rumors, but former teammate (and current free agent) Rob Gronkowski recently fueled the fire when he said he’d definitely return to the Buccaneers next season if he was joined by the veteran wideout.
Brady would surely welcome back his former wideout, and while organizations tend to favor younger players to round out their roster, Edelman could probably show enough to slide in toward the back of the Buccaneers depth chart. On the flip side, even when considering Bill Belichick’s affection for Edelman, it seems unlikely that he’d want to sign a WR in his late 30s.
Edelman’s last healthy season came in 2019, when he hauled in 100 receptions for 1,117 yards and six touchdowns. The former seventh-round pick finished his career with three rings and a Super Bowl MVP.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated last weekend, free agent tight end Rob Gronkowski was asked about the potential for his return. In reality, the question and answer were played off a bit as a joke.
Here are a few more rumors from around the NFC, starting with a rumor out of the Windy City:
In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Bears heavily addressed their offensive line, drafting four offensive linemen and signing one more undrafted free agent lineman. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune expects the team to continue trying to add to the group, saying that they should be on the lookout specifically for “an experienced option to compete for the right guard job.” Biggs also expects Chicago to target veterans at defensive line and wide receiver over the next few weeks.
New Eagles linebacker Nakobe Dean was expected to be a first round pick during last month’s Draft. Dean was the victim of one of the least predictable slides of all time, falling down to the third round of the Draft due to concerns over his health. Well, according to EJ Smith of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Dean has been a full participant in the team’s rookie minicamp, making an effort to disprove the notion many teams held that he would potentially miss his entire rookie season with a pectoral injury.
Two games into the 2021 NFL season, Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham suffered a season-ending tear of his Achilles tendon. Well, according to Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com, Graham says he feels like the injury never even happened. He will return to the field with no restrictions this preseason. This wouldn’t be the first time Graham has made a full recovery from a long-term injury. He tore his ACL 13 games into his rookie season. Despite the serious injury, Graham has become the impact player he is today, the same player he is expecting to be this upcoming season.
Falcons wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson has always been a bit of a swiss army knife. He has made impressive plays in the kick and punt return games and, while performing mainly as a wide receiver for most of his career, Patterson has displayed the ability to run the ball when required, as well. After signing to join the Falcons last year, Patterson was asked to run the ball more than ever before, serving as Atlanta’s top rusher in terms of both attempts and yards. Well, Michael Fabiano of Sports Illustrated quoted ESPN’s Michael Rothstein stating his belief that Patterson will return to his primary position, expecting the 31-year old to spend more time at wide receiver than running back next year. Whether this would be a result of offseason additions like free agent signing Damien Williams or newly drafted Keaontay Ingram or if Patterson just requested a return to his natural role, Patterson is expected to take fewer snaps at running back next season.
Despite Julian Edelman announcing his retirement last month, rumors will continue to persist about a potential reunion with Tom Brady. This theory has always seemed unlikely, but it certainly isn’t impossible. After all, Brady managed to coax Rob Gronkowski out of retirement to join Tampa Bay, and he also recruited Antonio Brown despite the team already having Chris Godwin and Mike Evans on the roster.
So, would anyone really be shocked if Edelman ultimately joined the Buccaneers? Probably not. However, the long-time Patriots receiver did his best to quiet the rumblings during a recent appearance on the Michael Irvin Podcast, stating that he’s a “one-team guy.”
“My knees breaking down, I’m not gonna sit here, you know, I got everything I wanted,” Edelman explained (via NFL.com’s Nick Shook). “I got three rings, played in a magical dynasty, with an unbelievable franchise coach, best quarterback of all time, like, yo, I’m not a greedy guy. I played to win, I played to compete, I don’t need anything else to prove. I’m good with what I did, I left it all out on the field.”
Edelman was limited to only six games this past season as he dealt with a knee injury, so a potential return would obviously hang on the wideout’s health. Plus, as the 34-year-old noted, there’s not much more he can do to add to his resume; Edelman won three rings and a Super Bowl MVP, and he ranks second all-time in receiving yards and receptions. Assuming his career has come to an end, the former seventh-round pick finished his career with 36 regular-season touchdowns, all via Brady. The future Hall of Famer quarterback has tossed 581 touchdowns during his career, with Edelman ranking third among Brady’s all-time touchdown connections (behind Gronkowski and Randy Moss).
Considering those accolades, will Edelman eventually find him in the Hall of Fame? That’s not a concern to the retired receiver, who noted he’s focused on his new gig as a member of Inside the NFL.
“I’m not here to make a case, man,” Edelman said. “I didn’t play the game to be in the Hall. … It’s an honor to even be mentioned. You know and if something happens, something happens, you know I’m not gonna be worrying about that, I’mma be worrying about my new job here on Inside the NFL.”
Shortly after the Patriots released Julian Edelman, the accomplished wide receiver revealed he will not attempt to play for another team. The 12-year veteran announced his retirement Monday afternoon (video link).
The Pats cut Edelman with a failed-physical designation, doing so after he missed 10 games due to a knee injury last season. As recently as late February, Edelman wanted to play a 13th season. But the 34-year-old pass catcher had not fully recovered from the knee injury he battled last year, and the Patriots signed four new aerial weapons — wideouts Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne and tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry — last month. However, Edelman may not be easy to replace. He operated as the top wideout for six playoff-bound Patriot teams during the 2010s and was a significant part in the franchise winning three more Super Bowls during the decade.
Edelman did not hold an extensive role in New England’s offense until his fifth season, which came after Wes Welker signed with the Broncos in 2013, and never made a Pro Bowl. He missed the 2017 season, incurred a four-game PED ban in 2018 and was considerably limited in 2015 and ’20 as well. Regular-season availability notwithstanding, dominated in playoff opportunities and still ranks second in Patriots history with 620 regular-season receptions — behind only Welker’s 672.
“By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career – wins, championships, production – Julian has it all,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “Day in and day out, Julian was always the same: all out. Then, in the biggest games and moments, with championships at stake, he reached even greater heights and delivered some of his best, most thrilling performances.”
During the 2018 postseason — one Edelman concluded by winning Super Bowl LIII MVP acclaim — the former Kent State quarterback surpassed Michael Irvin on the playoff receiving yardage list. Only Jerry Rice compiled more postseason yards than Edelman (1,442). While Edelman did play in 19 postseason games, only 14 of those came after Welker’s departure opened up a role for him on offense. En route to three Super Bowl titles, Edelman posted six 100-yard playoff games. The former seventh-round pick’s top two playoff yardage performances came two years ago, when he amassed 151 in a rout of the Chargers and 141 in New England’s defense-fueled win over the Rams.
A touchdown pass from the former college QB also did plenty to ensure the Patriots could add to their ring total in the 2010s. Edelman’s touchdown toss to Danny Amendola propelled New England past Baltimore in the 2014 divisional round, and Edelman added a receiving TD in the Patriots’ come-from-behind Super Bowl XLIX win over the Seahawks. Edelman did not score or surpass 100 yards in the Pats’ record-setting comeback win over the Falcons, but his tipped reception on a game-tying drive kept the team’s storied rally in play. The slot receiver’s absence in Super Bowl LII proved pivotal as well, with the Patriots falling short as favorites against the Eagles.
Despite the postseason success, Edelman never earned more than $8MM in average annual salary. He signed five Patriots contracts — the most recent a two-year, $15.5MM deal in 2019 — but was never among the NFL’s highest-paid receivers. Prior to the 2017 ACL tear, a foot injury limited Edelman to nine games in 2015. He will be eligible for up to $2MM in injury protection funds, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
The lack of a Pro Bowl honor and a short run as an offensive weapon will almost certainly keep Edelman out of the Hall of Fame. The 12-year veteran sits 156th on the league’s all-time receiving yards list (6,822). But he proved essential to the second leg of the Patriots dynasty taking shape and will be remembered as one of the great postseason performers in NFL history.
After 12 seasons, the Patriots may well be cutting ties with Julian Edelman. They released their longtime slot receiver on Monday, according to the NFL’s transaction wire.
The Pats released Edelman with a failed-physical designation. Edelman has mulled retirement this offseason, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. Such an announcement may follow. The veteran wideout, who will turn 35 in May, has continued to battle knee trouble this year, Doug Kyed of NESN.com tweets.
Barring a reunion, this will close the book on one of the more interesting careers in the history of the Patriots and the receiver position. The 5-foot-10 wideout has not made a Pro Bowl and did not have much of a role on offense until his fifth season, but he has the second-most playoff receiving yards in NFL history (1,442) — behind only Jerry Rice‘s 2,245 — and was integral to the Pats’ passing game for the past several years.
Injuries, however, have limited Edelman in recent years. He missed 10 games last season and underwent knee surgery late in the year. The 12th-year receiver, who missed the 2017 season with a torn ACL, caught 21 passes for 315 yards and no touchdowns in the franchise’s first post-Tom Brady campaign.
Struggling for much of the Bill Belichick era to identify receiver talent early in drafts, the Patriots took a flier on a quarterback from Kent State in the 2009 seventh round. While All-Pro Wes Welker was still in the heart of his dominant run as New England’s primary slot weapon, Edelman took the reins ahead of his fifth season. Welker’s Denver defection began Edelman’s ascent, and he played a pivotal role in the second leg of New England’s dynasty.
Edelman earned MVP honors in Super Bowl LIII, has six 100-yard receiving games in the playoffs — including two such outings in Super Bowls — and made the defining catch of his career against the Falcons to help the Pats erase a 28-3 deficit to win their fifth championship. The former MAC passer/ball carrier produced three 1,000-yard seasons, with his most recent coming for an embattled Patriots passing attack in Brady’s final New England slate.
This release will tag the Pats with $2.7MM in dead money while also creating just more than $3MM in cap space. The team made changes to its receiver room this offseason, signing Nelson Agholor at a surprisingly high rate and adding Kendrick Bourne. The Patriots also signed tight ends Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry and are likely set to deploy plenty of two-tight end sets. Even so, subtracting Edelman from this situation still leaves the team with somewhat of a need at the receiver position.
We heard yesterday that the Patriots will be welcoming back three key players in 2021, but another veteran’s outlook remains uncertain. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter) that veteran wideout Julian Edelman will continue rehabbing and recovering from a knee injury that shortened his 2020 campaign.
Rapoport notes that Edelman still wants to play next season, but the main concern is if his knee will be able to hold up to the rigors of another NFL season. No decision has been made, but Edelman’s status in 2021 will be directly attributed to his health. If he feels like he’s overcome his knee injury, he’ll likely be on the field.
The 34-year-old appeared in New England’s first six games of the 2020 season. Thanks (in part) to the fact that he was seeing targets from the likes of Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, and Brian Hoyer instead of Tom Brady, Edelman struggled to put up consistent numbers. Other than an eight-catch, 179-yard performance in Week 2, the wideout was limited to only 13 receptions for 136 yards and no scores in his other five games.
Of course, the former Super Bowl MVP is only one season removed from a 1,000-yard campaign, so it may be too early to write off Edelman. The veteran is also the only reliable receiving option currently on New England’s roster; former first-rounder N’Keal Harry has struggled through his first two NFL seasons, and the team is otherwise eyeing former undrafted free agents Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski for the top of the depth chart. If Edelman is healthy enough to play next season, we should set a statistical rebound.
Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman played in just six games in 2020 thanks to a knee injury, and there has been plenty of speculation that the three-time Super Bowl champ will elect to call it a career. But it doesn’t sound as if he’s contemplating retirement just yet.
In a recent interview on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast (h/t Doug Kyed of NESN.com), Edelman was asked if he would “reconsider” his decision to retire. Edelman replied, “What are you talking about? Right now we’re being a dad right now and we’re sitting back and training, getting our body right for the next year.”
Of course, his reference to getting his body right for next year is hardly a definitive declaration that he will return to the field, especially since he later said he is just “decompressing” for the time being and doesn’t “necessarily” know what the interviewer meant when he brought up the topic of retirement. Nonetheless, Kyed believes all signs are pointing towards an Edelman return.
The Patriots’ receiving corps left much to be desired in 2020, and Edelman’s absence made an already bleak situation even worse. So while the Pats could cut their franchise icon and save $4MM of cap space in the process, one would think that if Edelman wants to play, New England will be happy to have him, even if his age and the wear-and-tear on his body force him into a more limited role. Plus, the club will already be flush with cap space, so the extra $4MM it would save with an Edelman release probably wouldn’t be worth it.
The Pats could use some of their cap room to sign a free agent wideout or two, as the market is likely to have a few appealing options. Players like Kenny Golladay and Chris Godwin could get hit with the franchise tag or sign extensions with their current clubs before free agency opens, but a decrease in the salary cap might make that more difficult. Meanwhile, Allen Robinson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Corey Davis might all be marketing their services in March.
December 28th, 2020 at 5:00pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
Things have gotten ugly for Jared Goff and the Rams’ offense the last couple of weeks, with back to back losses to the Jets and Seahawks in which Goff played poorly. Making matters worse, Los Angeles’ quarterback dislocated and broke his thumb during the loss to Seattle. It looks like there are a wide range of outcomes moving forward, with everything from Goff playing this Sunday to being out for the remainder of the season being on the table. Goff will require surgery on the thumb at some point but he’s hoping to push it back until after the season, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports (Twitter video link).
Rapsheet says that Goff is “adamant” about pushing to play in Week 17 and that he at least has a “shot” to be under center. If the Bears lose to the Packers on Sunday then the Rams are in the playoffs no matter what, but if Chicago beats Green Bay then the Rams will need to beat the Cardinals to get in. It sounds like Goff is going to try to push through and suit up for the playoffs even if he isn’t able to be out there on Sunday. Goff is meeting with specialist Dr. Steven Shin today, the same doctor who treated Drew Brees‘ thumb injury last year, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Obviously Brees missed a handful of games with that injury last year, although hopefully for the Rams this isn’t as severe. If Goff is forced to miss the game against Arizona, it’ll mean the first regular season NFL action for former Wake Forest and AAF star John Wolford.
Here are more health issues from around the league entering the final week of the season:
Goff isn’t the only banged up quarterback in this pivotal game. Kyler Murray has already dealt with a lingering shoulder injury this season, and he also hurt his leg at the end of Arizona’s Week 16 loss to San Francisco. Speaking to the media Monday head coach Kliff Kingsbury was vague, only deeming it a “lower leg” injury and saying they won’t put Murray out there if he can’t be effective. If the Cards win on Sunday, they’re in. If they don’t, they’re out. In a game of this magnitude, you have to figure Murray is going to play if it’s at all possible, but right now Kingsbury is saying it’s up in the air. This will be a situation to monitor closely, but either way it sounds like Murray is going to be at less than 100 percent against Aaron Donald and co.
One last dispatch from the NFC West. The 49ers picked up an upset of the Cardinals, but their injury-plagued season continued. They dropped at least two more starters, as rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk and left tackle Trent Williams both won’t play in Week 17 due to injuries they suffered against Arizona, Kyle Shanahan said Monday. Shanahan also said he’d be shocked if Jimmy Garoppolo plays this weekend, meaning C.J. Beathard should get another crack at it. Aiyuk has flashed a lot of promise, and 49ers fans have to be excited about his 2021 potential. It’s possible we’ve seen Garoppolo play his last snap as a 49er.
Joe Mixon‘s 2020 campaign is officially in the books. The Bengals running back won’t play this weekend, head coach Zac Taylor confirmed Monday. Mixon hasn’t played since all the way back in Week 6 due to a foot injury, but the team kept insisting he was only week to week this whole time. Mixon signed a four-year, $48MM extension back in September, so he’s in Cincy for the long-haul.
Chiefs fans can breathe a little easier. Receiver Sammy Watkins went down with a calf injury yesterday, but Rapoport tweets it isn’t believed to be major. Given Watkins’ injury history, that’s a big relief. Rapoport writes that Watkins will rest in Week 17, but that there’s a “good chance” he’s back for Kansas City’s first playoff game.
Another player whose season, and quite possibly career, is over: Patriots receiver Julian Edelman. Rapoport tweets that Edelman won’t be activated for tonight’s Monday Night Football showdown with the Bills, and that it’s “unlikely” he plays next week either. Edelman is under contract for next season but he’ll turn 35 in May, so it’s entirely fair to wonder whether he’ll end up retiring. The legendary Patriot, who has spent all 12 years of his career in New England, was limited to only six games this year due to a knee injury.
Matthew Slater is in the midst of his 13th NFL season. With the Patriots currently spending a week on the West Coast, the California (and UCLA) product is appreciating what could be the final homecoming of his career.
“I don’t know how many more chances I’m going to have to play football in California, where my dreams started as a kid. It certainly means a lot,”Slater told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “For our team, it’s another game, and they’ll be the two biggest games of the season. It certainly carries a little extra significance for me, especially the second one, needless to say.”
Yesterday’s game against the Chargers marked Slater’s first game in Los Angeles since his final season at UCLA in 2007. As Reiss notes, Slater’s father, Jackie, spent 19 of his 20 NFL seasons playing in Los Angeles for the Rams.
The 35-year-old special teams ace has spent his entire career on the opposite coast in New England. Slater has earned three Super Bowl rings, eight Pro Bowl appearances, and five first-team All-Pro nods. He also earned a spot on New England’s 2010s All-Decade Team.
Some more notes out of the AFC East…
One of Slater’s teammates won’t be returning to the field very soon. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that wideout Julian Edelman is “still a couple of weeks” away from rejoining the Patriots. The 34-year-old landed on IR back in October after undergoing knee surgery, and he was recently placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Edelman, who has 21 receptions for 315 yards this season, is still planning to play again in 2020, according to Schefter.
A surprising name has popped up as a potential suitor for the inevitable head coaching vacancy with the Jets. WFAN radio host Boomer Esiason suggested that former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher could be an option for New York. “He was saying to me yesterday, he’s the one that told me the Jets job is going to be really attractive, and they could hire whomever they want, and he told me he loves [G.M.] Joe Douglas,” Esiason said (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com). Cowher hasn’t coached since the 2006 season. He currently holds a 149-90 record, and he won a Super Bowl championship with Pittsburgh in 2005.
The Dolphins auditioned running back Elijah McGuire recently, according to Schefter (on Twitter). The former Jets sixth-round pick has bounced around the NFL a bit, including a stint on the Cowboys practice squad that ended back in October. The 26-year-old has appeared in 24 career games (five starts), rushing for 591 yards and four touchdowns. He’s also added 36 receptions for 370 yards and two scores.