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Julian Edelman timeline for next Patriots season unclear

Julian Edelman, Patriots

The New England Patriots will get a lot of players back in 2021 after the likes of Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung opted out of the 2020 season. Whether wide receiver Julian Edelman returns to the fold remains to be seen.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Julian Edelman wants to play in 2021. However, his injured knee is not cooperating, making for some interesting decisions going forward.

There is no guarantee Edelman is still a Patriot in the coming months, anyway.

New England already has ample projected cap space. But cutting Julian Edelman would save an additional $3.43 million against the cap, possibly allowing the Pats to be more aggressive in pursuit of a star wide receiver or offensive line reinforcements. Head coach Bill Belichick also said back in January it was “too soon” to make a determination regarding Edelman’s future.

Then again, Julian Edelman is just one season removed from what was arguably the best year of his career. Edelman was far and away New England’s best wide receiver in 2019. He hauled in 100 receptions for a career-high 1,117 receiving yards, constantly giving Tom Brady a consistent pass-catcher in an otherwise shallow receiving corps.

But Julian Edelman had a bit of a tougher time building a rapport with Cam Newton in 2020. He averaged a career-high 15.0 yards per reception, but had just 21 catches and zero touchdown receptions in six games.

Julian Edelman underwent knee surgery following a Week 6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, ending his season.

The Patriots should get a boost from the likes of Hightower, Chung and offensive tackle Marcus Cannon. As for Edelman, his status is yet to be determined.