The New England Patriots bid their legendary quarterback adieu last month. His favorite receiver won’t be following him out the door.
That’s what a league source told NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran, at least. Curran reported Thursday, quoting the source, there is “not a chance in hell” that the Patriots would trade top wideout Julian Edelman this offseason.
While trading Edelman could make some sense for the Patriots, no outlet has reported the team is even considering moving him. Speculation thus far has been fueled by one Twitter like and some banter between Bill Simmons and Colin Cowherd on Cowherd’s radio show Wednesday, with Simmons saying Edelman could be dealt to Matt Patricia’s Detroit Lions.
Why would the Patriots trade Edelman, who was far and away their best pass-catcher in 2019? Doing so would give them some financial flexibility, for one.
Trading Edelman before June 1 would free up $4.3 million in salary cap space and leave behind $5.3 million in dead money, according to Spotrac. Waiting until after that date execute a deal would create $7 million in cap savings with $2.7 million in dead cap (plus another $2.7 in 2021).
Cap expert Miguel Benzan explained how the Top 51 rule would factor into those equations:
A post 6/1 trade would result in $2,966,666 dead money in 2020 presuming Jules earned his 300K offseason workout bonus. A post 6/1 trade would increase Patriots cap space by $6.025M if we presume a player w/ a $675 salary takes his place in the Top 51
— Cap Space=$1,101,775 (@patscap) March 23, 2020
As of Thursday afternoon, New England had just over $1.1 million in available salary cap space, per Benzan.
The Patriots also could use an Edelman trade recoup a draft pick — they currently have none from No. 23 overall until No. 87 after trading their second-rounder for Mohamed Sanu last season — though it’s unclear what kind of return a soon-to-be 34-year-old coming off shoulder surgery would fetch.
Despite those potential benefits, keeping Edelman would provide some much-needed offensive stability in Year 1 of the post-Tom Brady era. The 10th-year pro is coming off one of the best seasons of his NFL career, battling through multiple injuries to catch 100 passes for a career-high 1,117 yards and six touchdowns.
Sanu, N’Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, newcomer Damiere Byrd, Gunner Olszewski, Quincy Adeboyejo and Devin Ross round out New England’s current depth chart at receiver.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images