Julian Edelman and the Patriots are expected to part ways due to a failed physical, per Ian Rapoport.
And while there will certainly be speculation about a potential move to Tampa Bay, the move was reportedly a precursor towards Edelman’s retirement.
This transaction marks the end of an era for the Patriots, and while it may be sad, it was not too hard to see coming. Edelman has reportedly been dealing with a chronic knee injury, and there were reports that Edelman would not be able to play a full season, along with Jakobi Meyers’ development last season.
If this is the end of Edelman’s career, and not just so he can join up with Brady and Gronk in Tampa Bay, he leaves behind a remarkable legacy. In 11 seasons with the Patriots, he had 620 receptions for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns. While he may not have been the best red-zone target, he was excellent at moving the chains, finishing with 366 first down receptions.
In 137 games, his career-high in receptions was 105 in 2013, his career-high in yards was 1,117 in 2019, and his career-high in touchdowns was seven in 2015. He took over Wes Welker’s role as the slot receiver in 2013 and has been known as one of Tom Brady’s all-time targets. He finishes as a three-time Super Bowl champion, Super Bowl 53 MVP, a member of the Patriots 2010s all-decade team and a member of the Patriots all-dynasty team.
What Edelman will be remembered most for is doing his best work in the postseason. In 19 playoff games, Edelman had 118 receptions for 1,442 yards and five touchdowns and many signature moments.
Edelman’s best moments are some of the most iconic plays in Patriots franchise history. Who could forget Edelman’s iconic catch in Super Bowl 51? Or his passing touchdown against the Ravens in the 2014 divisional round? Or even when he got laid out by Kam Chancellor in Super Bowl 49 and eventually would catch the go-ahead touchdown on the same drive?
In the end, Edelman’s legacy is certainly complicated. Many people will make the argument that his playoff numbers, which, in most categories are second only to Jerry Rice, should be enough to get him into the NFL Hall of Fame. However, people will counter that by bringing up his lack of Pro Bowls and All-Pros. While he is certainly a lock for the Patriots Hall of Fame, whether or not he ends up in Canton is unknown at this moment. Regardless, he leaves behind a legacy as one of the most impactful and memorable Patriots in franchise history.
Not bad for a seventh-round quarterback.