Before Danny Amendola arrived on the scene, Julian Edelman was the New England Patriots “next Wes Welker“.
At the start of the season, Josh McDaniels had Edelman in on sets that usually required Welker’s place in the slot. Fast forward seven months later and a couple of weeks into free agency and Edelman is still a free agent.
Normally the Patriots wait until the market is set before they look to re-sign players (ie. Sebastion Vollmer, Aqib Talib), but after signing Amendola most would expect Edelman to be right behind.
Currently on roster for the AFC East champs are five wide receivers: Amendola, Matthew Slater, Andrew Holmes, Jeremy Ebert, Donald Jones and Kamar Aiken. Only Slater and Amendola have four or more years of experience in the NFL. Add tight-ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and this is an incomplete receiving core. Edelman played an intricate role with the club last season.
When he wasn’t saddled with injury (missed six games last year), he filled in when others were. With the the three highest paid receivers all having a bit of an injury history, Edelman, who fits the offense superbly, would deal as a bit of insurance. He hasn’t proven to be the deep threat this team so desperately needs, but his game in the slot oddly resembles Welker’s. And this team needs speed if they’re going to continue to emphasize the slot position. Edelman gives them that.
Based on either party not making a move, you can only assume the interest is mutual and that the front office is just waiting until the time is right. That time will likely be after the draft when players get released. Until that time it’s unclear whether Edelman will be rocking blue, silver and white when the season kicks off in 2013.