Updates from Wednesday, March 19
The NFL Network's Albert Breer has the full details on Edelman's deal:
Julian Edelman's deal is pretty straightforward. $17M over 4 years, with $6.5M in '14, $9.5M in the first 2 years and $8M fully guaranteed.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 19, 2014
As a practical matter, Edelman's contract reads like a two-year, $9.5 million deal, with club options for '16 and '17.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 19, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, March 18
Doug Kyed of NESN.com provides a synopsis of Julian Edelman discussing his new contract with the Patriots:
Julian Edelman said he signed a four-year contract on WAAF this morning. Also said decision "wasn't that tough" to return to New England.— Doug Kyed (@DougKyedNESN) March 18, 2014
For a full transcript of the interview, check out WAAF.com.
Mike Garofolo of Fox Sports has the full details on the deal:
Meanwhile, here are the numbers on WR Julian Edelman's deal w/ @Patriots: 4 years, $17m base, $2m more in incentives, $8m guaranteed.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 18, 2014
Julian Edelman was able to turn a big 2013 season with the New England Patriots into a new contract with them.
Adam Schefter first reported the deal:
Patriots and WR Julian Edelman just reached agreement, per source. Back to New England.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2014
The wide receiver confirmed the deal on his Twitter feed:
Foxboro is home. Excited to be back. #grind— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) March 15, 2014
Edelman stepped into the role on the Patriots offense vacated by Wes Welker, when the latter signed with the Denver Broncos last offseason, and produced major results, finishing the season with 105 receptions for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns. All were career highs.
And Edelman's familiarity with Tom Brady was vital, as both Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola struggled with injuries, while the quarterback had a difficult time establishing chemistry with the team's younger receivers.
The Patriots chose not to use the franchise tag on Edelman, however, calling into question just how much they valued him. Before free agency began, one anonymous agent told Ron Borges of the Boston Herald that Edelman would be wise to cash in on his success while he still could:
Edelman needs to go to the highest bidder this time. As a seventh-round pick, who never made any real dough, this is his last, best chance to cash in. He needs to end up surpassing [Danny] Amendola’s deal because he played better than Amendola.
A good comparable would be the Dolphins’ five-year, $30 million deal for Brian Hartline. I don’t see the Patriots doing that, but some fool will. Edelman’s agents have to make that happen.
If they do it’s not likely to be in Foxboro, but at this time of year football is not a sport it’s a business. If Edelman doesn’t want to get the business, the same way Wes Welker did, he better remember that.
A year ago, Amendola was signed to a five-year, $28.5 million deal, but didn't live up to expectations, battling once again with injuries and ending up with just 54 catches for 633 yards and two scores. Edelman certainly had his justification for at least finding an equivalent deal out on the market.
Though Edelman can play out wide, he's best utilized as a slot receiver, whose quickness and crisp routes make him difficult to cover underneath. He's a scrappy yet reliable player who is most effective utilized in a scheme that doesn't expect him to beat corners over the top.
It will be interesting to see if Edelman can replicate his production from 2013 moving forward. If he does, the Patriots will be quite pleased with the investment it made in the quick wideout. If used correctly, Edelman should have another strong season.