The notion that the Patriots might not retain Julian Edelman past the 2017 season has been percolating quite a bit in recent weeks. But after a report from NFL Media's Mike Garafolo on Thursday saying the two sides were getting close on a deal, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports a deal on a multiyear contract extension has been struck.
Julian Edelman and Patriots reached agreement on a two-year extension that ties him to New England through 2019 season, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 8, 2017
Monetary details of the reported two-year extension have yet to be reported.
The Patriots were obviously in no way uninterested in Edelman long term, but it just felt like given his particular skill set and the roster construction in New England there was a possibility he might not be around. It was a legit concern in Boston: I did a spot with "Toucher & Rich" on CBS Sports Radio affiliate 98.5 The Sports Hub and they inquired about his long-term viability with the Pats. Plenty of outlets close to the Patriots had been asking similar questions over the past few months.
The depth chart in New England is so deep right now that "How many games would the backups win?" is a viable question being asked. (Also worth asking: , so would you prefer their starters or the Patriots' backups both for this year and for starting a franchise?)
Back to Edelman: He signed a four-year, $17 million deal in 2014. That has turned out to be an absolute steal for the Patriots, and while Edelman has outplayed his contract substantially, he has also parlayed it into a pretty robust amount of fame, both local and national, as well as a pair of Super Bowl rings and a lifelong friendship with Tom Brady. That he ended up dating Adrianna Lima is worth whatever ding his finances took alone.
Edelman will be 32 by this time next year (he just turned 31 on May 22), so it's unlikely the Patriots would give him a huge sum of money over a lengthy period of time. More likely is the Pats understand how well he works with Brady and want to maximize their depth over the next few seasons. Edelman wants to play in New England and was probably willing to take a discount to keep winning, but we'll know more once contract details emerge.
He's the same age as Wes Welker when the Patriots let Welker walk, but Brady's previous buddy was looking to break the bank with a deal from New England after averaging 112 receptions and 1,243 yards per year for six straight seasons. Edelman's production over the past four years -- 89 catches, 956 yards per year -- doesn't quite reach same level as Welker, but it's close.
If winning is important, it's hard to blame Edelman and the Patriots for hammering out a deal.