Wide receiver Julian Edelman may now be an unrestricted free agent, but he's smart to reportedly be continuing to negotiate with the New England Patriots.
After the best season of his career during the final year of his contract, Edelman is going to be looking for a bit of a raise, especially considering he was Tom Brady's top receiver. In 2013, Edelman caught 105 passes for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns, more than doubling his career totals in all three categories.
While it seems that Edelman wants to stay, it also seems like he will still leave if he doesn't at least get a respectable deal. Ben Volin from Boston.com had this to say about the current situation:
Edelman would like to return to the Patriots, but doesn’t seem intent on giving them a hometown discount. Last year, he barely received any interest in free agency and he returned to the Patriots on a 1-year, league-minimum contract with incentives.
After establishing himself as the team’s top receiver, Edelman wants to cash in this time, especially since big NFL pay days only come once or twice in a career.
“It’s just business,” the source said.
NFL players don't play forever, and 27 years old, Edelman most likely isn't going to get more than one or two more opportunities to get as much cash as he can before his body starts to hold him back.
But at the same time, what Edelman is doing is quite smart. First, Edelman can hang back and be patient to see what the Patriots are doing to try to continue to sustain a Super Bowl-caliber roster.
So far, it looks like the Patriots are doing a pretty good job of that. After letting Aqib Talib go to the Denver Broncos, the Patriots signed Darrelle Revis to a one-year deal, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
New England made a big move by somehow upgrading from Talib at cornerback by taking a player considered one of the best shutdown corners in the NFL. The Patriots allowed 239 passing yards per game in 2013, ranking 18th in the league, but this move could help that number go down next season.
At the same time, Edelman can still look at what the rest of the league is doing while listening to other offers. Teams will likely be looking to Edelman as a potential target, and according to Jason La Canfora from CBS Sports, the Baltimore Ravens are one of those teams.
The Ravens would make for an intriguing fit for Edelman. While they have some skilled players at receiver, Edelman could be a great slot receiver to pick up yards after the catch and give Joe Flacco a safety blanket.
With Brady as his quarterback, however, it has to be hard to want to go anywhere else but have less chance of winning. Still, Edelman wants to cash in before his time in the league comes to an end. With free agency just a couple of days in, Edelman is wise to be patient and keep listening to offers.