Monday afternoon, wide receiver Julian Edelman became a free agent. The New England Patriots terminated his contract after a failed physical and set him up to sign with any team, creating obvious questions among those that rooted for him in the past. They wanted to know if Edelman will head south and join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The reason for the questions is that former Patriots in Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski joined the Buccaneers in 2020 and helped the team win Super Bowl LV. Both men are back on the roster for 2021 and have the goal of returning to the Big Game. Edelman could potentially join the roster for a southern reunion, but there are two potential obstacles. One relates to his health, and the other relates to other players.
In terms of health, there are doubts about Edelman's availability for the season. The Boston Herald reported last week that the receiver is dealing with chronic knee issues that have caused issues for him in the past two years. The outlet said that he might not play all of the 2021 season.
The other issue is the offensive setup. The Buccaneers have multiple wide receivers on the roster that played a massive role in the Super Bowl run. The two biggest names are Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, but the list also includes Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson. Miller, in particular, was one of Brady's favorite targets. The Buccaneers had Antonio Brown in 2020, but he is currently a free agent.
If healthy, Edelman could replace Brown on the roster and become a trusted weapon in the red zone and on third downs. However, he would have to pass a physical and show that his knee is not going to be a problem. This issue limited him to six games and only 315 yards in 2020.
Patriots v Falcons Super Bowl is on Fox.March 29, 2020
One of the biggest stars in Patriots history, Edelman entered the league as a seventh-round pick out of Kent State. He was a former quarterback but made the transition to wide receiver and became one of Brady's favorite targets after four relatively quiet years. From 2013-2019, Edelman was a dangerous weapon in the offense. He topped 1,000 yards three times and caught 32 touchdown passes.
Of course, Edelman made an even bigger impact on the franchise during the playoffs. According to The MMQB's Albert Breer, Edelman totaled 118 receptions for 1,442 yards and five touchdowns. He won three Super Bowl titles and had one of the wildest catches in NFL history against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. Edelman also earned Super Bowl LIII MVP honors after catching 10 passes for 141 yards.