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For those Patriots fans who subscribe to the “We need more weapons on offense” theory, now is the time you should stop reading.
It appears as if quarterback Tom Brady is at risk of losing his top pass target for the second year in a row.
One year after Wes Welker defected to the Denver Broncos when he and the Patriots couldn’t reach a new contract agreement, Julian Edelman could soon follow suit. Last year’s top receiver couldn’t agree to terms with the Patriots before the beginning of free agency at 4:00 PM EST on Tuesday, and Edelman will now test the free agent waters, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
Patriots and WR Julian Edelman were unable to reach a deal today and he will test the market.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2014
Honestly, I’m not so much worried about Edelman making a beeline for another team. He seems to want to stay, and (for what it’s worth) even worked out with Brady recently this offseason.
I’m more concerned about the Patriots simply moving on to their next target in free agency. The Patriots reportedly offered Edelman a three-year deal, but asked for an answer before the start of free agency on Tuesday afternoon. Considering how quickly Bill Belichick moved on from Welker to line up a long-term deal with Danny Amendola last offseason, I can’t imagine that deadline bodes well for the Patriots coming back with a better offer for Edelman.
The Patriots are notorious for setting a value on players and cutting ties swiftly and emotionlessly (that goes without saying) whenever dollar values get too high. Belichick will not be held captive to contract negotiations. That’s just not how he operates.
It’s hard to blame Edelman for wanting to test the market. After receiving almost no interest as a free agent last year, he had to settle for an incentive-laden deal that paid him $1 million for surpassing both 100 catches and 1,000 yards. A seventh round pick for the Patriots in 2009, now is Edelman’s chance to cash in.
At this point, it doesn’t seem hopeful that he’ll be able to do so in New England. But for the sake of offensive minded fans and Tom Brady, let’s hope Edelman and the Patriots find some middle ground — however unprecedented that may be.