The New England Patriots are known for cutting bait early rather than late on players, so it should be seen as a sign of great respect if Bill Belichick is giving a player who will turn 33 this offseason a contract extension and a raise. That's precisely what the Pats are doing with Julian Edelman though it appears.
Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reported on Tuesday morning that the Pats and Edelman are finalizing a deal to lock in Edelman "for the rest of his career."
ESPN's Mike Reiss reports the deal contains $12 million guaranteed with an $8 million signing bonus.
Let's look at this from a couple of angles. First up is the money involved. We don't know exactly what kind of cash Edelman is getting yet, but presumably it will be a bump from the two-year, $11 million contract he last signed with New England. However, it's probably not going to be some bank-breaking deal. Edelman loves playing in New England, he's found a niche as Tom Brady's top weapon, he was getting buzz as a Hall of Fame wideout with another incredible playoff run last offseason and . He went from a potentially undrafted player (Belichick snared him in the seventh round on the advice of sportswriter Rick Gosselin) to living the freaking dream in Boston. If I had to guess it would be a two-year deal worth about $15 million with lots of incentives -- think regular season playing time and postseason games played -- built in that will make the Patriots more than happy to pay him the money if he meets them.
Edelman was going into the final year of his deal, so now is a sound time to hammer out a deal if the Patriots want to keep him in house.
Now the player. Edelman is older (he'll turn 33 in May), but he remains extremely productive. Since moving to a full-time role in 2013 and taking over for the vacancy created by Wes Welker's departure, Edelman has averaged 86 catches and 935.2 yards per season. He's missed some time in multiple years (not including the entire 2017 season in those stats) so it's worth looking at his per-16 game stats: he's averaged 103 catches and 1,117 yards on a per-16 game basis.
His playoff resume is beyond reproach. Edelman has recorded 1,164 yards and 90 catches in his last 11 playoff appearances. He Rams and recorded a signature catch in the Patriots previous Super Bowl comeback against the Falcons.against the
What might MOST interesting about this contract is the timing that it would insinuate for the rest of Edelman's career. A two-year deal is pretty standard for what he's gotten before, but it would mean locking Edelman in through his 35-year-old season. It's not unreasonable to expect a guy that plays the way he does out of the slot and works as hard as he does to be productive for the next three seasons.
But what about Tom Brady? This would keep Edelman on the roster through Brady's 44-year-old season. Brady's repeatedly said he wants to play until he's 45 and it would mean three more years of the GOAT under center for the Patriots.
Maybe that's digging too deep into how they want to align Edelman with Brady, but it does stand to reason they would want Brady's security blanket and his good friend on the roster for the Patriots quarterback through the rest of his career. It sure seems like the Patriots are trying to go for a power-run game type of setup and Edelman is perfect as a chains-mover who morphs into a clutch monster in the postseason.
It shouldn't be surprising at all if the Patriots are looking at Brady for a three-year window and now setting him up for success by keeping Edelman around for that same time frame.