The 2014 NFL free agency is just getting underway and a lot has already taken place. Darrelle Revis could be heading west, some top-tier cornerbacks remained with the same teams and no kickers have changed scenery yet. However, the biggest news item was sent from the New England Patriots.
The Patriots offered Julian Edelman a three-year deal, but reports state that the two sides couldn’t come together on the exact terms.
Patriots and WR Julian Edelman were unable to reach a deal today and he will test the market.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2014
This makes Edelman the second 100-catch wide receiver in two years to test free agency. Wes Welker being the other guy. Edelman took the role as Tom Brady‘s No. 1 favorite target, especially with Rob Gronkowski missing multiple games. Edelman finished the 2013 regular season with 105 catches, 1,056 yards and six touchdowns.
If the Patriots cannot lock up Edelman to a deal, here are the three teams that could help Edelman’s value in the 2014 season and beyond.
Detroit Lions: The Lions are in desperate need for a second wide receiver. Even though the offense has done well with Matthew Stafford targeting Calvin Johnson on every play, another receiver will improve the team tenfold. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell played their roles well by catching passes out of the backfield. Nate Burleson was the second-leading wide receiver in terms of catches with 39. Edelman is a slot receiver who can catch 60-70 passes and close to 900 yards with the Lions.
Cleveland Browns: Just like with the Lions, the Browns offense would be a whole lot better with a competent No. 2 receiver. Josh Gordon finished as the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver in ESPN.com standard leagues, despite missing two games and playing with sub-par quarterbacks. The Browns were lucky enough to have tight end Jordan Cameron as a second option. The team released Davone Bess, making room for Edelman to sign.
Houston Texans: This one may come as a surprise, but the Texans could be a good fit for Edelman. Andre Johnson is getting up there in age (33 in July). Rookie DeAndre Hopkins played well, hauling in 52 passes for 802 yards and two touchdowns. Edelman could be the guy to fill in the gap between the old and new receiver. While Edelman may not want to take a backseat to Hopkins, but that’s the role he’ll shine in. As the slot guy, Edelman can catch plenty of passes across the middle and be an endzone threat now that Owen Daniels has been released.
Any of these teams would help Edelman’s fantasy value. He won’t have to be the No. 1 guy like he was in New England. With these teams, he will fit more comfortably as the No. 2 or slot receiver. The catches and yards may decrease in the first season, but the longevity of playing every game will help over time.