Re-signing Edelman is a must for Patriots

Coming into this season, the Patriots lost three of their best four receivers: Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker, and Brandon Lloyd. Their fourth receiver, Rob Gronkowski, was out for most of the season. Yet, the Patriot’s offense managed to average over 27 points per game and finish with a 12-4 record.

The biggest reason for this (besides maybe Tom Brady) is Julian Edelman.

Edelman does not get nearly enough credit for the work he has done in New England this year.

He played in all 16 games, made a huge impact, and when Brady needed to make a play, he threw the ball to him.

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Edelman finished the year with 105 catches for over 1000 yards and six touchdowns. He was easily Brady’s most trusted receiver. He had very few drops, and was great at getting yards after the catch. The guy was Brady’s security blanket.

Despite getting so many looks, he still had the highest catch-target ratio for receivers on the roster. He caught just under 70 percent of the balls thrown his direction—a very high number for a predominantly outside receiver.

The second closest was Amendola, who caught a respectable 65 percent of the passes that went his way.

But other than that, the Patriots had Gronkowski, Dobson, and Thompkins, who caught just 58, 50 and 46 percent of the balls thrown in their direction.

Edelman was able to mask the lack of talent on this receiving core by his marvelous play. Without him, Brady completion percentage would have been under 58 percent (and probably lower because Edelman still caught a lot of balls despite being covered by the best receiver) and would have had easily had his worst season of his career.

Edelman also played his best in the close games, where other Patriot’s receivers consistently struggled.

Here are the eight games where the Patriots where the margin of victory for the Patriots was within a touchdown:

Week Catches Yards Touchdowns Margin of Victory
1 BUF

7

79

2

2

2 NYJ

13

78

0

3

4 ATL

7

118

0

7

6 NO

5

57

0

3

11 DEN

9

110

2

3

12 HOU

9

101

0

3

13 CLE

6

64

1

1

 

Some of the numbers don’t jump off the board, but he was making key third down catches in each one of these games that continued drives and allowed the Patriots to score. He also put up consistent numbers, and never shined away from the spotlight

In each of these games, it was the will of Brady and Edelman who helped this team to victory. Suppose New England did not have Edelman’s production, they could have easily gone 8-8.

Not only that, without Edelman, the opposing teams best corner would have covered Amendola, whose 54 catches was a product of Edelman ability to take coverage away from him.

The Patriots would have not been successful without Edelman this past year, and will not be successful this coming year without Edelman or a top-tier receiver that Brady can trust.

If the Patriots decide to let Edelman go, they better be looking to acquire Boldin or Decker from free agency—because outside of a healthy Gronkowski, this team has no playmakers on the receiving end.

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Hunter Morancy

About Hunter Morancy

Hunter is a second year Journalism and Political Science major at the University of Maine. He was a varsity debate champion, a varsity baseball and tennis player, and was captain of my club ultimate frisbee team.