Another beloved veteran could be on his way out of New England.
Super Bowl 53 MVP Julian Edelman tweeted a cryptic message on Tuesday that appeared to bid the fan base adieu in response to a Patriots fan account.
“Boston I love you,” the receiver wrote in a quote-tweet. “You’ve weighed on my and my family’s mind for a long time! 🙌🙏🏻❤️ #gottabelieve #💍💍💍🐿”
At 34 years old, Edelman could be hinting at retirement or simply moving on to a different team. The 2009 seventh-rounder signed a two-year, $18 million contract extension in 2019 which would technically keep him under contract until 2021.
According to Spotrac, the deal carries a $6.67 million cap hit in 2021 and a $2.67 million dead cap hit, meaning he and the team could part ways without a significant financial liability.
Edelman was clearly distraught by Tom Brady’s departure for Tampa Bay last offseason, making multiple impassioned pleas over social media for his signal-caller to stay in New England. Brady had been Edelman’s lone quarterback through 11 seasons in the NFL and targeted the wideout frequently. The Kent State product posted three 1,000-yard seasons and won three Super Bowl rings in that span. He has accrued 620 catches for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns through 137 regular-season appearances.
Edelman appeared in just six games this season after suffering a knee injury in Week 7, which left a palpable void in New England’s already lean receiving corps (a pain point that contributed to Brady’s decision to leave). Head coach Bill Belichick was forced to lean on largely inexperienced receivers Jakobi Meyers, Damiere Byrd and N’Keal Harry in Edelman’s absence.
The Patriots’ future at quarterback remains as murky as it did a year ago after the failed Cam Newton experiment, which could play a role in the decorated wideout’s cryptic message. The team posted a disappointing 7-9 record and missed the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. Newton — whom the Patriots signed to a veteran-minimum deal as a one-year stopgap — is expected to move on from New England, and it’s highly unlikely Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer represent the future for Belichick’s squad.