The New England Patriots wide receiver position has endured a complete overhaul this off-season. The Patriots opted to let Wes Welker depart in free agency, released Brandon Lloyd and have declined to re-sign aging wideout Deion Branch.
In order to compensate for these departures, the Patriots signed wide receivers Danny Amendola, Donald Jones, and Michael Jenkins. The Patriots also signed restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet today worth $2.35 million for next season. The Pittsburgh Steelers have five days to match the offer. If they choose not to match the offer, Sanders will become a member of the Patriots and the Steelers will receive New England’s third-round pick in this year’s upcoming NFL draft.
If Sanders joins the Patriots, that will be another new player in this offense for next year. The Patriots needed a familiar face in the offense and the team got that today when they re-signed wideout and special teams specialist Julian Edelman to a one-year deal.
Injuries limited Edelman to nine games last season as he caught 21 catches for 235 yards and three touchdowns. He broke his foot in Week 13 against the Miami Dolphins, ending his season as he was placed on injured reserve.
Few remember that Edelman was the starting slot receiver in Week 2 of last season, not Wes Welker. Edelman injured his hand against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 3 and was outshined by Welker the rest of the way. Before he injured his hand, Edelman was on pace to have a good season. Edelman had 10 catches for 87 yards and one touchdown through the first 10 quarters of the season, putting him on pace for a 64-catch season.
Injuries have been a problem for Edelman, missing 16 of a possible 64 games played in his four career. But Edelman holds immense worth for this team when healthy because of his ability to play multiple positions outside of wide receiver, including defensive back and on special teams as a kick and punt returner. Edelman has the potential to be a big contributor for this Patriots team, not just on offense but on special teams and maybe even defense if needed.