Julian Edelman played in just six games last season after suffering a knee injury, and the veteran receiver is still working to get back to 100 percent health. Unfortunately, he may not be able to in time for the 2021 season.
Edelman’s knee issue is one that has hampered him for two years and will likely force him to miss at least some of next season, according to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. A source familiar with Edelman’s injury said surgery can provide temporary relief but that Edelman may never be fully healthy again.
All indications are that Edelman is going to try to fight his way onto the field, but it is now fair to wonder if the New England Patriots can keep him. They have already handed out big free agent contracts to wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, and they may add another player or two at the position in the draft.
Edelman’s base salary for 2021 is a reasonable $2.8 million, so there is no major risk to keeping him. However, the Patriots could free up roughly $3.5 million in salary cap space if they release or trade him.
There was talk before last season that the Patriots and Edelman may want to move on from one another with Tom Brady gone, but he’s still considered an important leader in New England. He remained committed to the team even without his best buddy on the roster, though he did have a funny take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl.
Edelman caught 100 passes in 2019, so he is still capable of producing if healthy. Bill Belichick will probably want to keep him around to help mentor the team’s young receivers, but the lingering knee issue could force the Patriots’ hand.
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