Patriots Legend Predicted to Be a Salary Cap Casualty

Getty Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater

Few players hold a piece of New England Patriots fans’ hearts like Julian Edelman. He has been a mainstay with the team ever since he was drafted in the 7th round by the team back in the 2009 NFL Draft.

However, nothing lasts forever, and if ESPN’s Bill Barnwell is correct with his predictions, Edelman has already played his last game as a member of the Patriots. What’s probably even worse for some Patriots fans is the team Barnwell is predicting will sign the New England legend.

You guessed it, Barnwell has Edelman heading to Tampa Bay. Here is what he wrote:

Another expected cap casualty, Edelman is unlikely to see the $4 million remaining on the final year of his deal with New England. Thankfully, there’s a natural place for him to go: If Chris Godwin leaves Tampa Bay, the idea of Edelman flocking south to take over as Tampa’s part-time slot receiver almost seems too obvious. The days of Edelman catching 100 passes in a season are over, but he would be a familiar option on third downs and in key situations for Tom Brady.

Projected: One year, $1.5 million from the Buccaneers

The Patriots could subsequently use the money they would have paid Edelman to get a younger and healthier option at wide receiver. The Patriots might also be saying goodbye to Edelman’s buddy Matthew Slater. The latter is a free agent outright and has said he isn’t sure he wants to return to play in 2021.

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Joining Brady and Gronk in Tampa Bay

From the moment Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement and somewhat forced the Patriots to trade him there for a 4th-round pick, and a reunion with his favorite quarterback, it has seemed Edelman has had a desire to join his buddies in Florida.

After watching the pair head back to the Super Bowl, it’s hard not to imagine Edelman yearning for that camaraderie with old pals, warmer weather, and a more talented roster overall.

Because of those factors, Barnwell’s projection makes sense.


A Piece of Barnwell’s Puzzle

As you see from the quote provided, Barnwell believes the Patriots will throw a major contract at Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin. If New England can sign Godwin to the 4-year, $78 million deal Barnwell mentions, it would open a spot for Edelman in Tampa Bay.

It’s possible the Bucs could miss Godwin because, at this stage of his and Edelman’s career, there is no question which player is superior. It’s Godwin, but the Bucs have something that the Patriots don’t, and that’s depth at wide receiver. Rookie Tyler Johnson, and the speedy Scotty Miller seemingly prepared for bigger roles, and Godwin’s exit could equate to Tampa Bay getting the same production for less.

We don’t know how many more seasons Brady, Edelman, or Gronkowski will play, but it seems fairly certain, the trio wouldn’t mind finishing their careers together.

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