Wide receiver Julian Edelman is preparing to take the field with the rest of the New England Patriots, facing off in Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Edelman is in his 10th year with the Patriots and ninth NFL season, having missed all of the 2017 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which he sustained in a preseason outing against the Detroit Lions.
He was a late-round draft pick, selected by the Patriots in the seventh round, 232nd overall, in 2009. Edelman was drafted out of Kent State, where he spent his first three seasons as the Golden Flashes’ starting quarterback.
Here is what you need to know:
He Signed a 2-year Contract Extension in 2017
Two months prior to sustaining the injury that kept him out of the 2017 season, Edelman signed a two-year extension with the Patriots.
“Julian Edelman signed a 2 year, $11,000,000 contract with the New England Patriots, including a $5,000,000 signing bonus, $7,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $5,500,000,” according to Spotrac.
Spotrac notes that, in addition to his base salary and signing bonus, Edelman has other incentives built into his contract. For 2018, he was offered a $500,000 workout bonus. Additionally, Edelman was set to receive a $31,250 bonus per game active, for a potential $500,000. Edelman was active in all 12 games for which he was eligible, earning $375,000; he was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).
Among Patriots players, Edelman’s two-year, $11-million contract is good for 17th overall for total value, but 10th best for average annual value (AAV) at $5.5 million. Among New England’s wide receivers, Edelman’s contract is second on total value, behind Chris Hogan’s three-year, $12-million deal, but first in AAV, ahead of Cordarelle Patterson ($4.25 million), Hogan ($4 million), and Philip Dorsett ($2 million).
Edelman’s contract, given its short term and modest AAV, is outpaced by dozens of wide receivers in each regard. Its $11-million total value puts him in a three-way tie for 52nd with Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzpatrick and New Orleans Saints WR Ted Ginn Jr. Fitzpatrick, however, is on a one-year deal, giving his contract twice the AAV of Edelman’s. Across the league, his contract ranks only marginally better for AAV, with $5.5 million good enough for 44th overall.
He’s Known for His Postseason Production
Edelman’s career statistics may not jump off of the page when considering his numbers during the regular season. But his performance during the playoffs has set him apart from his contemporaries and landed him among the all-time greats.
As Boston.com’s Chad Finn noted, in responding to Edelman’s potential to land in the Hall of Fame, “a compelling case can be made for or against him.”
“He has 499 career receptions in the regular season. That’s 148th all-time and 23d among contemporaries… He’s scored just 30 receiving touchdowns and has 5,390 receiving yards. Those aren’t close to Hall of Fame numbers,” Finn said.
At the time of publication, Edelman had 98 career receptions in the postseason, second only to Jerry Rice’s 151; he’s since added 7 in the Patriots’ 37-31 win over Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, for a total of 105. Finn noted that he’s been a part of two Super Bowl wins.
“In one he made one of the most extraordinary catches you’ll ever see in the middle of a comeback from a 25-point deficit. In the other, he scored the winning touchdown as the Patriots erased a 10-point fourth quarter lead,” the report reads.
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