Julian Edelman is Out, But Don’t Cancel the Season
Julian Edelman tore his ACL in Friday’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions. “Non-contact injury” are the three words that make my blood curdle as a football fan. It typically means the player’s season and in some cases, their career is over. Here is a clip of the game footage ICYMI.
After seeing Jules leave the field on Friday, there was a lot of speculation as to the severity of his injury. On Saturday the news broke that Edelman would indeed be out for the season. Not the news we wanted to hear. Edelman plays a key role in the Patriots offense. He is Brady’s go to receiver in almost every situation, especially when they down by 8 with 2:27 to go in the Super Bowl.
I know I’m preaching to the choir here. Edelman is a tough-as-nails receiver who Brady trusts implicitly, and he will surely be missed this year. However, I am here to tell you that this doesn’t hurt the Pats Super Bowl chances this year as much as you think. The sky is not falling.
Now the direction I am about to go in here probably isn’t the popular one, but Edelman’s production is replaceable. At least 80-90% of it. In fact, we have seen this situation before. Wes Welker was the OG of this slot role for the Pats. From 2007-2012, Welker only had one season where he caught less than 110 balls. In 2012 the Pats let Welker walk to the Denver Broncos. A move that was met with firm opposition at the time, but it turned out to be the right one. The Pats were able to plug Julian Edelman in and turned him into Wes Welker 2.0, and Welker was out of the league by the end of the 2015 season. My overall point here, Welker was replaceable in this offense so Edelman is replaceable as well.
The depth at the wide receiver position this year is another reason the Pats will be able to replace Julian. The depth chart has the most quality depth at wide receiver that we have seen in a long time. With Edelman out, they still have Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, and Austin Carr.
The one name you may not recognize on this list is Carr. He is a 23-year-old undrafted rookie out of Northwestern who has impressed in training camp and the preseason. He plays the same brand of hard-nosed football that Edelman does, and not only have his chances of making the team increased with Edelman’s injury but he could see meaningful snaps early. Now please don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect Carr to replace Edelman directly, but with the strong veterans in front of him in Amendola, Hogan, and Cooks; Carr has a chance to be a contributor on this team. A week ago he likely would’ve been cut due to roster constraints.
All that said, the primary reason the Patriots offense is still the best in the NFL without Edelman on the field is Tom Brady. As long as 12 is walking through that tunnel every week this team has a chance to win. That combined with the depth on this team, it’s going to take a lot more than losing Julian Edelman to derail their plans for this season.