When Danny Amendola went down with an injury early in the season, Julian Edelman was the next man up for the New England Patriots. Playing under a one-year, $750,000 contract that has been boosted to about $1 million with incentives, Edelman stepped in and caught 105 passes and became Tom Brady’s most reliable target.
Some would venture to say that Edelman has replaced Wes Welker, who averaged 112 catches per year in his six seasons with the Patriots. Denver Broncos safety Mike Adams isn’t willing to go there.
“I can’t compare the two because Wes is — he’s something special,” Adams said Monday, via Tom E. Curran of CSNNE.com. “He can jive up the ball and then speed out and have you off balance. Edelman, he doesn’t do that. He’s a one-speed guy. He doesn’t have the same ability or the quickness that Wes has in the slot. I guess that is the main difference between them. But I don’t know if they use him the same as they used Wes because they’re totally different players.”
As Curran pointed out, Edelman is actually faster than Welker. They are different players in some ways, but Edelman has essentially played the role of Welker in 2013. When Brady needs a first down or a short yardage completion, he has been looking for Edelman.
I agree with Adams that Edelman is not as good a player as Welker. That said, Welker was 26 years old when he was traded to New England by the Miami Dolphins. Edelman is 27. If the Patriots re-sign Edelman this offseason and he catches 100 passes again in 2014, the debate could get a little more interesting.