BOSTON (CBS) — For the second straight year, Tom Brady’s favorite target hit the free agency market.
But unlike last year, the Patriots made sure to hold on to him.
There are several reports that Julian Edelman has agreed to a contract with the Patriots, and Edelman confirmed in a tweet that he is returning to Foxboro. The terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.
Edelman had a career year for the Patriots in 2013, leading the team with 105 receptions for 1, 056 yards and six touchdowns — all career highs.
The college quarterback-turned-receiver was drafted by New England in 2009 out of Kent State, and caught 37 passes and one touchdown in his rookie season. Though he finished 2009 in impressive fashion, scoring New England’s only two touchdowns in their playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Edelman would only record 11 catches over the next two seasons. He helped with the punt-returning duties, returning a kick for a touchdown in both 2010 and 2011, and became New England’s primary punt returner in 2011.
But he was much more than just a punt-returning wide receiver in 2011. With the Patriots secondary ravaged with injury, Edelman began taking snaps at defensive back in nickel and dime formations. He ended up playing an important role in the Patriots’ secondary, recording 18 tackles, and was charged with covering Baltimore receiver Anquan Boldin in the 2011 AFC Championship. He was credited with two tackles that game, and came up with a big hit on Boldin in the game’s final minute with the Patriots holding on to a 23-20 lead.
Injuries cut Edelman’s 2012 season short, but not before he made some history. In New England’s Week 10 romp of the Indianapolis Colts, he had a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown and touchdown reception. The following week we hauled in a 56-yard touchdown pass and returned a New York Jets fumble on special teams for a touchdown, making him the first player since the AFL-NFL merger to have a receiving and return touchdown in back-to-back weeks.
Edelman hit the free agency market prior to the 2013 season, but settled for a one-year deal with New England. With Wes Welker in Denver, Rob Gronkowski on the mend and Danny Amendola struggling to get on the same page with Brady, Edelman seized the opportunity and became Brady’s go-to receiver. He played in all 16 regular season games, catching seven or more passes nine times and recording four different 100 yard games.
Edelman caught 16 mores passes in New England’s two postseason games, including a touchdown in the Patriots’ loss to the Broncos in the AFC Championship game.
In his five year career, Edelman has caught 174 passes for 1,770 yards and 10 touchdowns while returning three punts for a touchdown.
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