The New England Patriots priorities in free agency are definitely to re-sign wide receiver Julian Edelman and No. 1 corner Aqib Talib, and they are 1a and 1b priorities in any particular order. Talib is a true building block on defense and is expected to make a huge amount of money in free agency after earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors on a one-year, “prove-it” deal that he signed last year in order to stay with the Patriots. As for Edelman, he is set to make the first sizeable contract of his career after his massive breakout season last year. I mean, who would have thought going into last season that the darkhorse out of Kent State would be Tom Brady’s leading wide receiver? Last offseason, he had such a long injury history and an unproven track record (despite sneaky upside and underrated strides made in 2012) that he was forced to sign a one-year, incentive-laden deal with the only team he has known.
Nobody should expect Edelman to leave this offseason, because it’s clear that he loves the Patriots organization. He had 105 catches last season, is a huge fan favorite, and he and Brady share an incredible rapport. Edelman is clearly well-liked in the locker room, but it’s his tangible impact on the field as a receiver and returner that makes him a must re-sign for the Patriots. Owner Robert Kraft wants him back, and I’m sure Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio, and the rest of the front office do, too.
It’s not surprising to hear that Julian Edelman is also interested in returning, though he has largely- and predictably so- remained mum on the subject, mostly stating that he isn’t sure about his future in New England. But he did say this, via the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe, “Who doesn’t? It’s a great franchise.”
Three straight AFC Championship Game appearances? Yup, it sure is a great place to be, and I would honestly be surprised if both sides can’t come to terms with a deal. Heck, I think they’ll get a deal done before free agency even starts.