Patriots: Julian Edelman news adds pressure to land top wide receiver in free agency

(New England Patriots Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
(New England Patriots Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Despite a career year in 2019 from New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman, there was ample concern about his future in the NFL when he went down in 2020 with a knee injury.

And never came back, even as cries for his services grew louder.

Edelman has been playing banged up for a good portion of the last five seasons, and though he’s a warrior and workhorse, it just didn’t sit right that the 34-year-old was dealing with lingering knee issues that eventually required surgery a few months ago.

He’ll be 35 by the start of 2021 and it’s not too often you see guys that age battle nagging injuries, go under the knife, and then get back on the field without issue.

Those cases aren’t non-existent, but they’re not exactly in your favor.

So when Patriots fans were hit with the news that Edelman’s future in New England is “uncertain” as he recovers from his knee injury, it didn’t feel good, but it also wasn’t surprising.

Julian Edelman’s injury update puts pressure on the Patriots.

What’s also bad? This puts pressure on Bill Belichick and the front office to land a star wide receiver in free agent or via trade because there’s no chance they’ll be getting by with Jakobi Meyers, N’Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd again in 2021 … especially if they don’t also find an answer at tight end.

Among all the other questions the Patriots are facing, this is among the most important because Edelman could’ve provided that much-needed veteran presence to help a young and/or new wide receiving corps learn the offense and develop a rhythm.

Instead, not only does it look like the Patriots may have to “figure it out” with whomever they bring in, acquiring a star wide receiver is almost a must at this point or else the passing attack will again be one of the worst in the league.

The other problem? Getting a quarterback that will convince said star wide receiver to choose the Patriots in free agency, which is the likely route they’ll go given all of the cap space they possess.

Belichick has almost never had his back against the wall in any particular offseason, and though the Pats’ spending power and draft position do offer hope, the Edelman news provides yet another setback in an entirely different way.