While the Patriots received good news Friday that three players are likely to return after missing last season, they’re still playing the waiting game with Julian Edelman.
The 34-year-old receiver still wants to play football but is unsure how healthy his knee will be at the start of the 2021 NFL season, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Friday.
“He’s still trying to work his way back from a knee injury that drastically shortened his 2020 season,” Rapoport said of Edelman on an NFL Network show. “My understanding is he does want to play in 2021, that’s not the important thing. The important thing is, is his knee going to be healthy enough to play? He is still rehabbing, he is still recovering, still trying to see if he’s healthy enough to be out there for the 2021 season. No decision has been made yet on which way that’s going to go.”
Edelman underwent knee surgery for an undisclosed injury in October. He was originally placed on injured reserve with no timetable to return and eventually missed the Patriots’ final 10 games of the season.
Since the Patriots’ season ended in January, several rumors have swirled on Edelman’s future in New England and in the league. The Patriots’ receiver sent a tweet out in January that some viewed as his goodbye to Boston. Later that month, Edelman said “We’re not there yet,” in response to a retirement question during a podcast appearance.
If Edelman does wind up returning for the 2021 NFL season, it might not be in New England. Edelman, who turns 35 in May, has one year left on his contract with a cap hit of $6.1 million. However, if the team cuts ties with Edelman via a trade or release, they’d only be on the hook for roughly $2.6 million of that, freeing up roughly $3.5 million in cap space.
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