Could Julian Edelman’s Contract Be Holding the Patriots Back in Free Agency?

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As it turns out, I was right in predicting that the Pats would try and be players in the wide-receiver market this offseason.

Not only are there unconfirmed rumors that they may have offered a solid package for Antonio Brown, but we also now know for sure that they were aggressively pursuing former Tampa Bay slot stud Adam Humphries on Monday, before he ultimately signed with the Titans:

Humphries ended up signing with Tennessee for four years and $36 million, with $19 million guaranteed. Relatively speaking, that’s a freakin’ steal, and I’m really disappointed that the Pats weren’t willing to go above $9 million per to bring him in.

Disagree? Check this out:

He’s also averaged over 68 catches and 700 yards each of the past two seasons, catching 73 percent of his total targets. He is criminally underrated, and the Pats let him slip away. Plain and simple. (Also, Devin Funchess, who has surpassed 40 catches all of ONCE in four NFL seasons, got $10 million from the Colts yesterday, which can reach $13 [!!!] with incentives. Case in point.)

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Do not sleep on this man.

But is it because they really didn’t believe Humphries was worth that much? I don’t think so. In today’s NFL, you’d have to be a fool to think you’ll be able to bring in that type of talent for much less than eight figures, at minimum. Even Belichick knows that.

However, it’s actually mind-blowing to think about the fact that Julian Edelman – a multi-time Super Bowl Champion and the man who is second on the ALL-TIME postseason receptions list – has a base salary of just $2 million for 2019. WHAT??!! Including bonuses, his total cap hit is $4.5 million. But still, that number is unbelievably low – as in I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen the proof myself.

Could the team be worried that bringing in a guy who plays the same exact role for MUCH more money would upset Jules? ESPN’s Mike Reiss thinks it potentially could:

Look, this is all pure speculation, and there are many out there who will respond – in typical Patriots toadie fashion – by saying that Edelman is “SUCH A TEAM GUY” and only cares about the old “Patriot way!” He loves it here, Mattes! That’s all that matters to him!

Wake up, people! You really think that he’d be OK making over five times less than a guy who, while playing well over the past two years, hasn’t won anything and is an entirely unknown name to the casual NFL fan? Especially coming off a Super Bowl MVP performance? OH, and let’s not forget that Edelman is 32 years old and knows time is running out to get that paper. Even if we don’t sign another wide receiver this offseason, I doubt Edelman allows the team to get to the regular season without forcing an extension, because this is also the final year of his current contract.

So while everyone, myself included, is focused on now-departed guys like Trent Brown and Trey Flowers or who else the Pats could potentially bring in this offseason, perhaps we’ve forgotten to think about taking care of one of our own. Sure, guys like Golden Tate (*heavy breathing*), Tyrell Williams, Cole Beasley (signed with Buffalo), and Randall Cobb are still out there, but I think we need to take care of Jules first – or at the very least have an immediate plan to do so. And who knows, maybe the team can even work some magic and create more cap room by re-working both his and Brady’s contracts at the same time.

I’m not saying they can’t still get something done with another player before taking care of Edelman; they certainly could. All I’m saying is that they’re certainly not making it any easier on themselves until they figure things out with No. 11. Stay tuned.

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