Updates from Friday, Mar. 14
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Edelman is considering the Baltimore Ravens as a potential destination:
Sounds like, I'm addition to hosting WR Steve Smith, Ravens also expressing some level of interest in Pats WR Julian Edelman.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2014
NFL Network's Albert Breer reports the Ravens are no longer players for Edelman:
With the Steve Smith signing, I'm told the Ravens are out of the running for Julian Edelman now. They did have an interest.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 14, 2014
Updates from Thursday, Mar. 13
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday night that Edelman is planning a visit to the West Coast on Friday:
Patriots free-agent WR Julian Edelman is scheduled to visit the 49ers on Friday, per source. SF also interested in Giants WR Hakeem Nicks.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2014
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora previosuly reported that one quarterback was attempting to persuade Edelman to join his team:
I have heard that Browns QB Brian Hoyer has been trying to recruit Edelman to Cleveland as well. They played together in NE— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 13, 2014
The Browns are making a "strong push'' to sign Patriots free agent wide receiver and former Kent State Golden Flash Julian Edelman, according to Michael Giardi of CSNNE.
The Browns apparently turned their attention to Edelman, 27, this week after news broke that the Bengals would match the Browns' four-year offer sheet to slot receiver Andrew Hawkins. Hawkins has signed the offer sheet, according to nflnetwork and the Bengals now have five days to match.
Updates from Tuesday, Mar. 11
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports the latest on negotiations between Edelman and the Patriots:
#Patriots offered WR Julian Edelman a three-year deal, per source. Would like an answer by the start of free agency. They want to keep him— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 11, 2014
Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that those talks have failed to create a deal and that Edelman will test free agency:
Patriots and WR Julian Edelman were unable to reach a deal today and he will test the market.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2014
Mike Giardi of CSNNE.com had more on the talks between the Patriots and Edelman:
A source close to Edelman said that side didn't believe it was fair value and did not like team deadline imposed upon him. #PatriotsTalk— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 11, 2014
It was the perfect time to play at a high level, as Edelman is on the verge of unrestricted free agency and could get paid significant amounts of money for the first time in his career.
According to ESPN Boston’s Field Yates (via Adam Schefter), the Pats are working to ink Edelman to a new deal and recently discussed the possibility with his representatives:
From @AdamSchefter: the Patriots and WR Julian Edelman discussed a new contract today. Edelman becomes a FA on March 11.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 6, 2014
New England holds exclusive rights to negotiate with Edelman before the rest of his potential suitors and was wise to finally exercise that ability on Thursday, a few days ahead of the March 11 start of free agency.
There was some concern that Edelman’s incumbent team would not be interested in retaining his services when Ben Volin of The Boston Globe reported that the Pats still had not spoken with the receiver’s camp as of Feb. 23.
Michael Giardi of CSNNE.com later reported reason there is interest within the Patriots' organization to retain Edelman:
According to team source, there's strong push in bldg to keep Edelman. Coaches love his work ethic & production as dual threat #patriotstalk— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 9, 2014
Factor in that New England reportedly failed to see “value” in using the franchise tag on Edelman or any of its players, and it’s easy to draw a conclusion that the club isn’t bending over backward to keep nor pay market value for the five-year veteran.
That sort of lackadaisical attitude may cost the Pats their leading receiver, a breakout star who replaced Wes Welker in the passing attack, caught 105 passes and turned them into 1,056 yards and six touchdowns.
I don't think there's ever any question about Julian's skills or his toughness or his competitiveness...This is the year he's been able to stay on the field, and certainly his production has paralleled his time on the field. He's done a good job with his opportunities. He always practices hard, plays hard, prepares well. He's always a tough guy you can count on from that standpoint and this year he's been healthy.
An unnamed veteran agent explained to Ron Borges of the Boston Herald how Edelman should learn from Welker’s situation and why he would be foolish to give New England a loyalty discount:
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.
Should the 27-year-old chase the money elsewhere, he could find himself in Houston or Cleveland.
Reiss also noted that these suitors should expect to pay a similar amount to what Danny Amendola earned from the Patriots last offseason, a five-year deal worth up to $31 million.
The reporter doesn’t see the New England brass being comfortable shelling out that type of money for a receiver with many of the same skills that Amendola already brings to the table.
Should the Pats try to re-sign Edelman?
It will definitely be interesting to see what sort of market develops for Edelman over the coming days, especially with such a deep class of wide receivers in the upcoming draft.
Regardless, Edelman brings a lot to the table, including five seasons of experience and the ability to field punts at a high level. Those could be the difference-makers when it comes to a club deciding to try its luck with a rookie or open up its wallet for the former Kent State standout.