The New England Patriots have been thin at wide receiver for a while and now it appears they will be without Julian Edelman in 2021, per the Boston Globe’s Karen Guregian. Edelman was only able to play six games in 2020 due to knee pain and swelling. Edelman had surgery to alleviate the injury, but the soon to be 35-year old receiver will have trouble playing anywhere close to a full season in 2021.
Guregian reports, “it’s doubtful he will be able to play the entire 2021 season.” This isn’t a new injury for Edelman, as his knee has slowed him down for the last couple years, but it appears to be at a point where the team will have a hard choice this off-season.
The Patriots had a motley crew of receivers last season, with none really stepping up except for Jakoni Meyers, who likely won himself a spot on the roster after catching 59 passes for 729 yards last year. Damiere Byrd played well under the circumstances while N’Keal Harry continued his sub-par early career.
This is why the Patriots were quick to sign wide receivers in free agency, as they brought in Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. They will be upgrades for the receiver room, but there is still a need for a true No. 1 receiver. They also brought in the two best tight ends in free agency, giving them plenty of bodies in the passing game.
The writing is on the wall for Edelman. Even if he is able to show the team he can be useful, he isn’t likely to stay useful. And the Patriots won’t be sentimental if they don’t think he can help the team. His odds of being released appear to be good at the moment.
We will likely see the Patriots draft a receiver, which they have been extremely poor at doing under Bill Belichick. They also are looking for a quarterback in the draft, so getting everything on their wish list is going to be tough. With four new free agent pass-catchers, they might not draft a receiver early, but they need to grab one in what should be another deep wide receiver class.