In a stunning move on Monday afternoon, the New England Patriots terminated the contract of veteran wide receiver and franchise cornerstone Julian Edelman. According to the official listing on the transaction wire, the move was the result of a failed physical.
However, the termination of Edelman’s contract could be the precursor to something else: his retirement.
Edelman, 34, has logged 137 games over the course of his 12-year NFL career and his body has paid the price. He’s missed a handful of starts over the years and has only played in all 16 regular season games three times. The 2020 campaign was one of his most difficult yet, as a knee surgery allowed him to make just 21 catches for 315 yards.
According to a report from NESN Patriots beat reporter Doug Kyed, Edelman has had conversations with those close to him about retiring this offseason. With his time in New England now over, the door could be wide open for the three-time Super Bowl champion to hang up his jersey.
“Edelman has discussed retirement with those close to him because the pain in his knee has not subsided this offseason,” Kyed wrote on Twitter on Monday.
Edelman has discussed retirement with those close to him because the pain in his knee has not subsided this offseason.
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) April 12, 2021
Kyed’s report builds on a report that Edelman’s injury issues were far worse than previously feared. Apparently, the veteran wide receiver has “chronic” knee pain that may keep him from being able to play a full season ever again.
“According to a source familiar with Edelman’s situation, it’s doubtful he will be able to play the entire 2021 season,” Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald reported last week. “The knee has already hampered him for the better part of two years.
“While surgery can provide temporary relief, nothing can solve the underlying problem, the source said. That doesn’t mean Edelman won’t try to suit up, but if you’re the Patriots, how do you keep a soon to be 35-year-old receiver with a bad knee that will eventually sideline him again?”
It looks like we have the answer to that question: the Patriots won’t be keeping Edelman. Instead, the 34-year-old receiver will be faced with a difficult upcoming decision about his future in football.