Patriots: Julian Edelman’s return feels pointless given how the season has played out

Patriots WR Julian Edelman (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Patriots WR Julian Edelman (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Patriots WR Julian Edelman returning from knee surgery feels meaningless at this point.

The New England Patriots’ playoff hopes are hanging by a thread entering their Sunday showdown against the Arizona Cardinals, as they sit at an uncharacteristic 4-6 through 10 games, ranking dangerously close to the bottom of the AFC standings and a full two games out of final playoff spot.

If there’s a positive to be had heading into the game vs Arizona, it’s that the Cardinals are favored to win and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is virtually unbeatable in scenarios when he’s a home underdog.

Still, even a win on Sunday wouldn’t guarantee anything, as New England likely has to go undefeated or 5-1 over the final six games to qualify for the postseason, and they still have dates against the Rams, Dolphins and Bills remaining on their schedule.

With all of this in mind, it would basically be pointless to activate Julian Edelman, who’s set to miss his fifth consecutive game after undergoing a “precautionary” standard procedure to relieve pain in his knee.

Edelman reportedly still isn’t ready to practice, which means that the Patriots have to wait even longer to designate him to be activated off IR. After that, he has a 21-day window to return to the 53-man roster. If he isn’t able to do so, league rules require him to be put back on injured reserve.

We won’t go as far as to say that a second stint on the shelf will be necessary, but the fact that the Patriots don’t want to start the clock as it pertains to Edelman returning to practice and proving that he’s back to full strength says a lot about where he’s at in his recovery.

Since the 34-year-old wideout was placed on IR back in Week 8, he was eligible to return to practice last week leading up to the game vs Houston. That obviously never came to be, but fans didn’t overreact as the Patriots tend to exercise caution when it comes to bringing players back from injuries.

However, the fact that Edelman was held out of practice an extra week has us more inclined to suggest that the Patriots should just shut him down for the remainder of the season. If they come up short at home against Arizona, then they honestly shouldn’t even think twice about it.

For a receiver in the twilight of his career, that would undoubtedly be the right call in terms of maximizing what he has left in the tank.