Julian Edelman's time with the New England Patriots has come to an end. The Super Bowl MVP had his contract terminated by the only team he's ever known today after failing a physical.
Edelman missed 10 games last season with a debilitating knee issue that clearly carried over into the offseason and resulted in the termination of his contract. That is not a great sign for his immediate future in football. Edelman was one of the tougher slot receivers playing with the Patriots during the Tom Brady era and battled through obvious injury on several occasions to win football games. Mike Reiss over at ESPN believes the expectation is that this transaction is part of a formality before Edelman retires.
Still, he's only one year removed from a 100-catch, 1,000 yard season in 2019. Right now he is expected to retire, but that could change with still a few months to go before Edelman would have to make that decision final. If he decides to stick around, here are four teams that would make sense as possible destinations.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Duh. If we're being realistic, this is probably the only place Edelman goes if he doesn't retire. He'd be the latest Pats expat to head to Florida and team up with his good buddies Tom and Rob. Joining this Bucs team is as close as Edelman will get to a guaranteed shot at another title and an opportunity to play a big role down the stretch. A loaded depth chart would mean Edelman can rest on his heels for the regular season and come in for clutch third-down catches in the postseason just like he did all those championship years in New England.
Green Bay Packers
If Edelman decides that he not only wants to play but he wants to have a big role in whatever team he joins, the Packers make the most sense. Davante Adams is the undisputed No. 1 over there but the No. 2 role has been up for grabs for years. Green Bay doesn't really have a short-yardage, move-the-sticks-type guy like Edelman on the roster right now, and Aaron Rodgers would definitely appreciate how reliable Edelman is in big spots if he's healthy. Plus, it doesn't seem like things have been super great between the team and Rodgers, so giving him another weapon (even if it's for cheap and comes with substantial risk) should help smooth whatever issues there may or may not be over.
Kansas City Chiefs
In what I find to be rather unusual, the Chiefs have been spurned by several free agents this offseason despite boasting the league's best quarterback and a wide-open championship window for the foreseeable future. Names like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Giovani Bernard, and Trent Williams have all passed joining the 2019 Super Bowl champs for one reason or another. Edelman isn't on the same level of impact as those other names, but Patrick Mahomes would love to have him and that's all that really matters. It would certainly sting for the Patriots to see Edelman defect to the conference favorites, but such is the game.
San Francisco 49ers
Above all else, Edelman might be sick and tired of cold weather and could just want to go home. The Niners would have a spot for him. He'd be great in Kyle Shanahan's offense (like most players, but regardless), knows Jimmy Garoppolo who as of now is still the starter in the Bay Area, and would be back in California. San Francisco has a pretty good shot at winning something of note in 2021 after the wheels fell off due to injury in 2020. They're due some luck in that department, and a fully healthy Niners squad should be as good as the team that made a Super Bowl run only two short years ago.