Edelman has become quite the weapon in New England’s offense. (USA TODAY Images)
Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has certainly come a long way since being drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL draft.
Back then New England selected the former Kent State quarterback with the 232nd overall selection and not many people thought much of the pick, especially not knowing at the time that he would be moved to receiver. ¬†But his speed and quickness were noticeable during training camp that year and his evolution both as a punt returner and a receiver since then have been attributes that have made him a dangerous weapon in¬†the Patriots’¬†offense.
He’s been tremendous since taking over after Wes Welker’s departure to Denver. ¬† Over the past two seasons he’s caught 197 passes for 2028 yards and 10 touchdowns, but he lead the team with 54 first downs in 2013 and was 3rd on the club last season with 49 (Rob Gronkowski had 60, Brandon LaFell beat him by one with 50). ¬†He’s a guy who moves the chains after leading the team with third down receptions in 2013 with 30, including 18 first downs and three touchdowns, and he finished tied for the lead in 3rd down receptions in 2014 with Gronkowski with 22, including 15 first downs.
Edelman caught the attention of everyone nationally after catching 9 passes on 12 targets for 109 yards and a touchdown in New England’s Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks, and it’s clear that he’s established himself as one of the best in the NFL. ¬†His accomplishments caught the eye of Mel Kiper Jr., who recently did a “re-draft” of the 2009 NFL class, and Edelman made a massive leap up the chart, with Kiper Jr. selecting him 4th overall, which would have had him going to the Seattle Seahawks.
One anonymous NFL GM told Kiper that Edelman is¬†“the toughest cover in the NFL right now.” ¬†Given what we see on a weekly basis with the veteran receiver, it’s hard not to agree. ¬†He’s become a valuable asset in this offense and with Gronkowski returning to form has become even more dangerous. ¬†The addition of Brandon LaFell was a terrific compliment to Edelman in the offense last season and Danny Amendola also made some contributions down the stretch and was terrific in the postseason.
As a result this team has a pretty solid group of receivers coming back in 2015. ¬†But it’s tough not to appreciate how good Edelman has been, and it’s good to see him getting a little recognition outside of New England now that he’s quietly established himself as one of the top targets in the league.
STEVAN RIDLEY EXPLORING HIS OPTIONS:
Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston held his weekly chat on Thursday and offered up his thoughts as it pertains to running back Stevan Ridley, who is still on the free agent market.
According to Reiss he’s not ruling out a return to New England for Ridley, but feels the veteran running back may be thinking that he’s better served to find a team that would allow him to maximize his opportunity to prove his value on a one year “prove it” type of deal.
“My sense on Ridley is that he’s looking for the right situation where he’ll have the best chance to maximize a one-year “prove-it” type deal,” said Reiss via his chat. ¬†“So it’s not like he doesn’t have options, it’s just choosing the right option. That could ultimately be the Patriots, but right now, I don’t think that’s the mindset.”
– Reiss has additional details surrounding Tavaris Cadet’s contract. ¬†According to Reiss, the total amount of the deal is $1.715 million and includes a $65,000 signing bonus. ¬†Cadet’s total base salaries are $660,000 for 2015, including a $50,000 roster bonus if he’s on the roster for week one, and a $760,000 base salary in 2016, and he also has two roster bonuses of $80,000 if he’s on the roster on the fifth day of the league year, and $100,000 or $6,250 per game.
– Reiss also has more details on Bradley Fletcher’s contract, which is a 1-year, $1.5 deal with a maximum value of $2.5 million and includes a $300,000 signing bonus. ¬†According to Reiss Fletcher’s base salary for 2015 is $800,000, $250,000 of which is guaranteed. ¬†It also includes a $100,000 workout bonus.
– One note that hasn’t been discussed too much recently was the trade talks regarding Eagles offensive lineman Ryan Mathis, whom the Patriots were rumored to be involved in. ¬†According to Tom Curran of CSNNE.com the team was, in fact, not involved in those talks.¬† The Patriots still have most of their line intact and¬†Dan Connolly still appears to be a player that the Patriots could bring back as he currently remains a free agent, although it’s likely we’ll still see additional linemen brought in over the coming months.
– Another point mentioned by Reiss during his chat Thursday was a tidbit on Kyle Arrington, who was exploited during the Super Bowl due to the tough match-up of having to cover Chris¬†Matthews, who at 6’5″ had a field day against¬†Arrington, who is 5’10”. ¬†“Arrington’s lows are noticeable, like we saw in the Super Bowl,” said Reiss. ¬†“I think that was a case where the Patriots’ coaching staff made a rare error of not putting the player in the best position to succeed. That wasn’t a good matchup for Arrington based on the size of the player he was covering and in retrospect, the coaches were slow to switch it. They are human too. We all make mistakes. No one is perfect. That said, you go back to the AFC title game against the Colts and that was lockdown coverage by Arrington on TY Hilton. As good as it gets.” ¬†Arrington overall had a good season in 2014, but that final performance is one that sticks out in the minds of many fans, and it’s not exactly fair.
– Manish Mehta has an interesting column this morning and is calling the Patriots “petty” as the NFL investigates the tampering charges surrounding the Jets and Darrelle Revis. ¬†According to Mehta,¬†the league sent an investigator to the Jets facility in Florham Park, N.J., on Sunday, March 8, during the three-day ‚Äúlegal tampering‚ÄĚ window before the official start of free agency to interrogate general manager Mike Maccagnan and front office personnel about the pursuit of Revis. ¬†Mehta also makes reference to SpyGate and DeflateGate (which as we’ve learned is seemingly a manufactured investigation about something the Patriots had nothing to do with but are now branded with thanks to the investigation) when discussing the Patriots and integrity. ¬†Ridiculous. ¬†He also goes back over the timeline about how Revis landed in Foxboro to begin with and backhandedly accuses the Patriots of tampering themselves with the Buccaneers.
– Funny story about local Patriots fan Ben Affleck, who apparently got just as emotional as most fans did when the Patriots won the Super Bowl. ¬†His wife, Jennifer Garner, was recently on “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon and she revealed what he was like at the end of the game. ¬†¬†‚ÄúDude, there were tears,‚ÄĚ said Garner via Patriots.com. ‚ÄúSeriously, it was like the greatest moment of his life. It actually was though. I birthed babies for him and I still have never seen just the pure joy.‚ÄĚ